American Soybean Association (ASA) Vice-President Alan Kemper hosted on his farm recently a delegation of Chinese soybean buyers whose companies represent 85 percent of all Chinese soybean purchases.

"Since the delegation represented the majority of Chinese purchases of U.S. soybeans, it was very important for us to talk about the quality of U.S. soybeans, the meal and oil content, as well as the availability," Kemper said. "They were a little concerned about the soybeans going in late in the U.S., if that would affect any of the quality, and we assured them that wasn’t a problem."

Kemper, a soybean producer from Lafayette, Ind., presented to the delegation an overview of grain farm operations and discussed current crop conditions, as well as thanking them for their continued purchase of U.S. soybeans. The lunch was sponsored by the Indiana Soybean Alliance.

The trip was arranged by the U.S. Soybean Export Council (USSEC) in cooperation with ASA, the United Soybean Board and the U.S. Department of Agriculture Foreign Agricultural Service.

"Farm visits like this one help buyers get a better understanding of how the cost of soybeans is arrived at," said Brent Babb, USSEC Director of Program Development and Communications. "It helps the buyers better understand what the soybean production costs are, so meeting with soybean farmers is very important to them."

The lunch meeting is part of a trip that will take the delegation to farms and agribusinesses in Indiana, Illinois, Missouri, Iowa, Minnesota and Wisconsin.

In marketing year 2008-09, China is projected to account for 55 percent of U.S. export sales of soybeans. Total U.S. soybean exports to China last year were 18.7 million metric tons (686 million bushels). That amount is slightly larger than Indiana’s and Illinois’ 2008 soybean production combined.

"Soybean exports to China are extremely significant to the heartland here in the United States," Kemper said. "In my farming operation, every fourth row goes to China."

ASA is the policy advocate and collective voice of its 22,000 producer-members on domestic and international issues of importance to all U.S. soybean farmers.