“Amino acids, which are the building blocks of protein, are important because they are fundamentally what livestock feeders are buying when they purchase soybean meal; most livestock rations are balanced on the basis of amino acids, not protein,” Kemper said. “Fatty acids levels help determine the quality of the oil that is extracted from soybeans and what type of processing might be necessary to make the final consumer product.”

U.S. soy exports had a total value of more than $21 billion for the 2009-10 marketing year ending August 31, 2010. The 1.9 billion bushel equivalents of soybeans, soy meal and soy oil exported during the marketing year set a record for the fourth consecutive year. Whole soybean exports for the year were 1.45 billion bushels, up from the 08-09 total of 1.24 billion bushels. About 59 percent of U.S. soybean production was exported, compared to 55 percent last year.

China was the top customer for U.S. soybeans, importing 825 million bushels in the 09-10 marketing year. That was up from 686 million bushels in 08-09. It is estimated that China imported a full one-fourth (25 percent) of the 2009 U.S. soybean crop. Korea imported 25 million bushels in the 09-10 marketing year. That was up from 13 million bushels in 08-09.

“The Crop Quality report is just one of many ways that U.S. soybean farmers develop long-term relationships with our export customers in Asia,” Kemper said. “Quality and reliability are important factors in building customer preference for buying U.S. soybeans and soybean products.”

ASA Vice-President Steve Wellman, a soybean producer from Syracuse, Neb., along with representatives from ASA-IM, USB and USSEC, is also participating in soybean quality conferences with U.S. soy customers in Japan and Taiwan.

The activities of USSEC to expand international markets for U.S. soybeans and products are made possible through ASA’s investment of cost-share funding provided by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Foreign Agricultural Service, support from cooperating industry, and by producer checkoff dollars invested by USB and various State Soybean Councils.