For a long time, the United States was the biggest kid on the block when it came to producing and exporting soybeans.

But now we’ve got company.

“Brazil is giving us a run for our money,” says Brian Williams, Mississippi State University Extension economist.

“This last year, we edged them out in production, but just barely. If things go according to plan for Brazil next year, they’ll actually top us in production. They did top us this past year in exports, and they’re expected to do the same next year.”

Meanwhile, China — which imported 69 million metric tons of soybeans last year — is importing an additional 10 million metric tons this year.

“Brazil is limited somewhat by its infrastructure,” says Williams. “When they were bringing in a record crop last year, there was a bottleneck, and they weren’t able to export as much as they wanted. Ships were lining up at the ports and sometimes waiting weeks and months. Some of them got tired of waiting and moved on up to New Orleans, where they knew they can get loaded faster.

“So that’s working in our favor — we have the infrastructure to export large quantities, while Brazil is still struggling in that area.”