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MSRPC Blog

MSGA Executive Director promoting soy exports on trade mission

November 28, 2022 / Categories: Uncategorized

Minnesota Soybean Growers Association Executive Director Joe Smentek is joining more than 30 agribusinesses and farm organizations on a trade mission to Madrid, Spain, sponsored by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Members of the delegation will engage directly with potential buyers from Spain and Portugal, receive in-depth market briefs from USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS) and industry trade experts, and participate in site visits.

Spain is the third-largest European Union destination for agricultural products from the United States, with Portugal ranking 11th. The Iberian Peninsula is a major gateway to Europe for agricultural products from the United States, with numerous ports of entry, including Lisbon and Valencia. It is the second-largest feed producer in the EU and second-largest pork exporter after Germany. Spain is also the third-biggest soy crusher in Europe and home to Cargill’s first crushing plant. United States soybean leaders have a trade relationship with Spain that dates back to 1960.

“One of the key goals of this USDA trade mission is to highlight both our commonalities and what truly sets U.S. foods and ingredients apart from our competitors in the region,” said FAS Associate Administrator Clay Hamilton. “America’s farmers, ranchers and producers have a compelling story to tell about the quality and sustainability of their agricultural production and we’re confident that their story will resonate with buyers, result in sales and provide a boost to the agriculture industry back at home.”

Following the visit to Spain, Smentek will join Minnesota Department of Agriculture leaders on a trade mission to Morocco in North Africa to promote soy exports via the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence Seaway System. Smentek, who will represent the Minnesota Soybean Research & Promotion Council (MSR&PC), said the visit is part of the Council’s “sweat equity” projects aimed at developing new markets.

“We are working to highlight Minnesota Soybeans as a solution, and Duluth as the preferred port,” he said. “Duluth could have some key advantages for North African buyers with their ports only able to handle vessels the same size that Duluth can.”

In early December, Smentek will attend American Soybean Association board meetings in St. Louis, followed by MSGA’s Pre-Resolution and board meetings Dec. 14-15.

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