Challenges facing U.S. poultry, livestock and fish farmers threaten the future profitability of the country’s soybean farmers, according to a new report that also analyzes the economic impact of animal agriculture.

The report, prepared for the United Soybean Board (USB) and soy checkoff, concludes the future success of the U.S. soy industry is closely tied to the long-term competitiveness of its No. 1 customer, animal agriculture.

Rising feed prices and costs related to environmental and animal welfare regulations are just two factors that could significantly impact the practices involved with raising poultry, livestock and fish, the report says.

“U.S. soybean farmers should care about animal ag because it’s their No. 1 domestic customer,” said Lewis Bainbridge, chair of USB’s Domestic Marketing program and a soybean farmer from Ethan, S.D.

“We need to be sensitive to the issues facing poultry and livestock farmers and make sure we are providing high-quality soy meal.” 

The study, which can be viewed in its entirety by clicking HERE, looks at the production of broilers, eggs, turkeys, hogs, beef cattle, dairy and aquaculture between 2001 and 2011. It details the use of U.S. soy meal in each sector and the value that sector represents to U.S. soybean farmers.

The study also outlines the economic benefits poultry, livestock, and aquaculture provide at the state and national levels.

Nationally, in 2011, these benefits included:

• Support for 1.7 million jobs;

• $333 billion in total economic output

• A $58 billion impact on household incomes;

• $18 billion in income and property taxes paid.

For U.S. soybean farmers, U.S. animal ag remains their most important customer. Overall, poultry, livestock and fish farmers in 2011 used almost 30 million tons of soy meal, or the meal from 1.27 billion bushels of U.S. soybeans.

The meal consumption per species broke down as follows:

• Broiler chickens: the meal from about 480 million bushels of U.S. soybeans; 

• Hogs: the meal from more than 360 million bushels

• Dairy cattle: the meal from approximately 101 million bushels;

• Laying hens: the meal from 93 million bushels;

•Turkeys: the meal from more than 80 million bushels

• Beef cattle: the meal from more than 80 million bushels.

The 69 farmer-directors of USB oversee the investments of the soy checkoff to maximize profit opportunities for all U.S. soybean farmers. These volunteers invest and leverage checkoff funds to increase the value of U.S. soy meal and oil, to ensure U.S. soybean farmers and their customers have the freedom and infrastructure to operate, and to meet the needs of U.S. soy’s customers.

As stipulated in the federal Soybean Promotion, Research and Consumer Information Act, the USDA Agricultural Marketing Service has oversight responsibilities for USB and the soy checkoff.

For more information on the United Soybean Board, visit