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Meat, poultry exports ship profits to U.S. soybean farmers

Study finds 40.1 million tons of soybean meal were exported as meat and poultry between 2005 and 2015.

The importance of poultry and livestock to soybean farmers is well documented. What may not be as well-known are the benefits for soybean farmers when U.S. meat, milk and eggs are exported. As human demand for protein grows globally, so do the opportunities for U.S. soybean farmers.

According to a soy checkoff-funded study, 40.1 million tons of soybean meal, or the meal from 1.6 billion bushels of U.S. soybeans, were exported as meat and poultry between the 2005 and 2015 marketing years. This was worth $13.8 billion to the U.S. soybean industry. In particular, exports of chicken meat and pork were worth $6.4 billion and $5.5 billion, respectively.

“As a soybean farmer, it’s important to understand that when demand grows for livestock, our demand grows, as well,” said Dan Corcoran, a soy checkoff farmer-leader from Ohio. “Exporting meat and poultry extends the market for our soybeans and benefits the U.S. economy all at the same time.”

Continued collaboration with the meat and poultry industries is important to farmers’ bottom lines. According to future projections from the study, 58.1 million tons of soybean meal will be fed to animals that will be exported as meat and poultry over the next 12 years. This will be worth $18.9 billion to the U.S. soybean industry.

U.S. animal ag consumes 97% of the domestic supply of soybean meal, making it the most important end user of U.S. soy. The checkoff works with organizations such as the U.S. Meat Export Federation and the USA Poultry and Egg Export Council to promote consumption of U.S. meat and poultry abroad. 

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