soybean news, northern soy marketing

The sun is setting on another year for Northern Soy Marketing (NSM). 

Throughout the last year, NSM has made great strides in promoting the value of soybeans grown in its member states – North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska, Minnesota and Wisconsin – while working to alter the language surrounding soy quality. Here are just a handful of ways that NSM has moved the needle for northern-grown soy in fiscal year 2024. 

  • Website revamp 

In FY24, NSM unlocked a new realm of soybean quality awareness when it rebranded and launched its new website. A true education hub and resource center, the revitalized website is a one-stop-shop for international buyers and purchasers to find answers to their soy quality questions. The website features dedicated pages and resources for soy buyers, nutritionists and farmer audiences. Along with in-depth explanations of the critical amino acid value (CAAV) measurement and the importance of essential amino acids, the website spotlights helpful resources from industry experts. 

“Education is at the heart of NSM’s mission,” NSM Chair Patrick O’Leary said. “The new website will be the premier spot for international buyers, feed nutritionists and farmers to gather the knowledge they need to make the best decisions for their companies and operations.” 

  • International trade visits 

Relationships are a critical aspect of NSM’s mission. In January, an NSM delegation embarked on an international trade visit to Vietnam where they met with feed mill executives, purchasers and nutritionists to explain the superior quality of U.S. soybeans and soymeal. A few months later, another delegation revisited Indonesia to continue educating potential customers on the benefits of purchasing soy exported from the Pacific Northwest (PNW). 

“It’s always good to meet the customer because they want to see the real person,” NSM Director and Wisconsin farmer Nancy Kavazanjian said. “They want to know that we’re real people, who are doing the real thing and that we care as much about our product as they care about the product they buy from us. We need to continue to reinforce the idea that we know our products may be lower in crude protein, but we have a better amino acid profile.” 

  • Midwest Crop Tour 

In September 2023, NSM hosted its inaugural Midwest Crop Tour which featured stops in North Dakota, Minnesota, South Dakota and Nebraska before ending in the PNW. The crop tour participants consisted of 13 international buyers who were employed in their companies’ procurement, purchasing, market research, supply chain and other divisions. Companies represented on the tour included some of the largest purchasers of soybeans in Southeast Asia: Charoen Pokphand, Japfa, Thai Vegetable Oil and more. 

“These trips are really beneficial and bring things full circle,” O’Leary said. “It’s important that both sides have a full understanding of each other.” 

  • “Understanding U.S. Soy Quality Seminar” survey  

During its international visits, NSM held “Understanding U.S. Soy Quality” seminars during which attendees filled out a survey. Survey results showed traders and nutritionists agree that though crude protein levels are an important factor, it’s just one part of the equation and it’s important to take into consideration the form of testing done on the soybeans or soymeal. 

In addition to protein levels and cost, survey respondents also placed high value in essential amino acids as a top priority. Other important factors include levels of spoilage or damage, foreign material and moisture. 

  • Collaborations with industry experts 

Through frequent collaboration with industry experts, NSM has the strength to back its claims touting the quality of soy grown in the Upper Midwest. Seth Naeve, a soybean researcher at the University of Minnesota; Bob Swick, a poultry nutrition consultant; and Lesley Nernberg with Lighthouse Agri-Solutions each played integral roles in NSM’s success this year. Whether they’re contributing written content for NSM’s monthly e-newsletters, being a crucial asset on NSM international visits or representing NSM at international conferences, these experts boost NSM’s momentum. 

With FY25 right around the corner, NSM is excited to build off the work it conducted in FY24. Each year brings new challenges, but NSM is ready to grab the bull by the horns and continue promoting the nutritional advantages of northern-grown soy.