Many soybean growers view their customer as the local elevator where they drop off their crop at harvest.

In reality, however, when a soybean gets dropped off at the elevator, its journey is just beginning.

Nearly half of the U.S. soybean crop stays in the U.S., but the remainder heads beyond the borders to customers as varied as the nations that cover the globe: pork producers in China, families in India and Japan, school children in Mexico, goat and sheep farmers in Morocco and poultry farmers in Turkey, not to mention fish farmers in Egypt and shrimpers in Ecuador.

And those are just a few.

Just like U.S. soy’s domestic patrons, international soy users raise animals, manufacture industrial products and bake and fry all kinds of food. And no matter what they’re raising, making or cooking, these customers need high-quality soybean meal and oil, and many need it to be grown in a sustainable way.

 

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Let’s follow the flow of U.S. soy to these representative destinations and see just how far America’s soybean crop travels beyond the elevator.

China

Whether it’s twice-cooked or barbecued, more and more pork is landing on plates across China. And as the country’s meat consumption continues to grow, so likely will its demand for U.S. soy.

The Chinese government’s recent efforts to make hog operations more efficient have helped pork production grow by nearly 15 million metric tons between 2000 and 2012, a 40 percent increase. Pork is now China’s No. 1 meat, and represents two-thirds of the meat processed in the country.