Domestic animal agriculture remains the largest consumer of U.S. soybeans, accounting for about 98 percent of the domestic supply of U.S. soybean meal.

Because soybean meal makes up a significant portion of animal feed, the United Soybean Board (USB) and soybean checkoff work to maintain domestic demand for U.S. soybeans by supporting organizations such as the U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF). In 2010, this support helped the U.S. livestock industry achieve strong export numbers for U.S. pork and beef, according to USMEF.

“The downturn in the economy has lowered the consumption of meat in the United States,” explains Jim Schriver, soybean farmer from Montpelier, Ind., and chair of the USB domestic marketing program. “We, as the soybean industry, feel the responsibility to help our No. 1 customer, animal agriculture, move the meat offshore. We do this through our alliances and significant soybean checkoff funding with organizations such as USMEF.”

Consumption of meat dropped one pound per person in the United States in 2010 according to the Livestock Marketing Information Center. Meat exports bolster U.S. animal agriculture when domestic demand is down.
 With $4.08 billion of beef exported during the year, 2010 proved to be a record year. USMEF helped increase beef exports in many regions, including Canada, the European Union, the Middle East, Japan, Russia and Southeast Asia.