Dennis Easley Named 2016-17 IOMSA 2nd Vice President

IOMSA in early August named Dennis Easley its Second Vice President for 2016-17. He then will become IOMSA President in 2018.

Easley has been in the oilseed processing industry since 1978. In 1979, he joined IOMSA.

He serves currently as plant manager for Valley Coop Oil Mill in Harlingen, TX, a role he has held since 1994.

His colleague, Denver Hance, is the 2016-17 IOMSA First Vice President.

House Passes Mandatory GMO Labeling Bill

One week after the U.S. Senate passed mandatory GMO food labeling legislation with a vote of 63-30, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the bill with a vote of 306-117.

Put forth on June 23, the bill is a bipartisan effort developed by the U.S. Senate Agriculture Committee Chairman, Pat Roberts and ranking member, Debbie Stabenow that will preempt the possibility of differing piecemeal laws being passed from state to state while assuring the smooth continuation of business within the food supply chain.

Grain associations, including the National Grain and Feed Association (NGFA), the American Feed Industry Association (AFIA), and the American Soybean Association (ASA) have voiced their support for the action stating that the legislation will provide a national standard that will avoid inefficiencies in the food system and higher food costs.

2016 U.S. Soybean Acreage Hits Record High

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) announced on June 30 that U.S. soybean planted area estimates have reached a record high of 83.7 million acres in 2016.

This is up one percent from 2015, according to the latest Acreage report.

Planters either maintained or increased their 2015 soybean acreage in 18 of the 31 major-producing states. Kansas, Minnesota and Missouri saw the biggest booms, with each reporting an excess of 200,000 acres planted, in comparison to 2015.

Corn growers have also increased their acreage by 7 percent from last year, totaling approximately 94.1 million acres.

About 94 percent of this year’s soybean acreage was planted to herbicide resistant varieties, and 93 percent of corn crop acreage was planted to biotechnology seed varieties. These statistics reflect growers’ increasing use of biotechnology in the agricultural field.

In May 2016, Purdue Agricultural Economist Chris Hurt stated that farmers who had delayed planting corn could potentially make up for it by planting soybeans instead. High demand continues to come in from China, which is the largest export market for U.S. beans.

To date, there are 870 million bushels of soybeans stored in positions across the U.S. This is an increase from 39 percent at the same time in 2015.

The NASS surveyed about 11,000 segments of land and 70,500 growers during the first two weeks of June to draw its conclusions. “The Acreage and Grain Stocks” report can be found on www.nass.usda.gov.

ADM Boosts Soybean Crushing Capacity in Germany

Archer Daniels Midland’s (ADM) soybean crushing plant in Straubing, Germany is officially operational following capacity upgrades. The group says it will be looking to increase soy crushing at its other sites across northwest Europe. The newly operational capacity at Straubing will enable the company to crush non-GMO soybeans originated from the Danube region to be processed into soymeal and oil to be marketed to customer in Western Europe.

 Due to tight margins, ADM states that it relies on scale to remain competitive with origin crushers importing meal to the region. In addition, switch capabilities added to its plants allows the company to more efficiently use its assets to address shift in protein markets when EU oil markets are under pressure.

We believe we are best placed in our industry to further grow our crush capacities organically and keep our production costs in line with or lower than our origin crushing operations,” said Jon Turney, general manager, ADM European soybean crush.

Black Sea Overtook United States as Top Grain Exporter in 2015-16

The Black Sea region has grown into a global grain powerhouse. UkrAgroConsult estimates that grain exports from Russia, Ukraine, and Kazakhstan likely reached 80 million tons in the 12 months ending in June on the back of larger crops and weakening currencies. While the International Grains Council states that exports increased 14% compared to the year before and are estimated to be about 10% higher than shipments from the U.S. for the season.

Ukraine accounted for the greatest increase with exports climbing 13% to 37.85 million tons while exports from Russia are estimated to have increased 9% to 33.5 million tons. Shipments from Kazakhstan are estimated to have risen by 22% to 7.4 million tons.

This market dominance is not expected to continue throughout the coming season, however, as dry weather is cutting into output in Ukraine.

Total grain exports from the region, that surpassed exports from the U.S. in 2015/16 by 4.8 million tons, will likely by 2.2 million tons less than the U.S. in 2016/17 according to London-based IGC.

Farmers Working to Bring Soybean Plant to Minnesota or North Dakota

Minnesota and North Dakota farmers are in talks with an unknown company to build a soybean processing facility in either eastern North Dakota or northwest Minnesota.

“There’s been a group of farmers that have been discussing and determining the feasibility of constructing a processing plant in the region,” says Monte Peterson, a North Dakota farmer and North Dakota Soybean Growers Association member who is on the steering committee for the project.

He knows from experience that having talks doesn’t mean anything will come to fruition. In the past, he’s been in these discussions, and the company wanting to build a crush facility moved to a completely different state.

An official statement from the group of farmers lists these benefits:

  • An expanded local market for soybean farmers.
  • A new, local protein source for livestock farmers.
  • Significant economic benefits resulting from facility construction and job creation.
  • Decreased reliance on rail transportation needed to export soybeans.

“Agreements will need to be in place before anything official is ever announced,” says Peterson.

HF Group Names Seevers Managing Director

Harburg-Freudenberger Maschinenbau GmbH (HF Group), Hamburg, Germany, in early July appointed Dr. Jörn Seevers as managing director. Seevers will assume the duties of Günter Simon after his retirement in early 2017.HF GF Dr. Seevers_2016

 
According to Marketing Manager Nora Grupe, “Seevers joined HF Group in January 2014, where until 2016 he managed the curing press department of HF TireTech Group in Belišće, Croatia. Since the beginning of 2016, he has served on the HF Belišće supervisory board.

 
“In the coming months, Seevers, along with Jens Beutelspacher and Günter Simon, will be the executive officers of HF TireTech Group and HF Press+LipidTech in Hamburg,” says Grupe.

 
Early career. Seever began his career in 1999 as a process engineer for Continental Tire AG in Hanover, Germany. In 2004, he was promoted to head of the process and machine development department.

 
In 2010, Seevers joined Giti Tire in Shanghai, China, where he managed the company’s central technology department and was the technical manager of its machine factory.

Darrell Isbell Passes Away at 64

Darrell W. Isbell, 64, died Wednesday, May 18, 2016, at St. Joseph’s Hospital.

He has lived in Richmond Hill the past 25 years, was a member of Savannah Christian Church, a veteran of the U.S. Air Force and worked with Lummus Corp. the past 28 years. He loved to walk and spend time with his family. He loved serving others and the Lord.

He was preceded in death by his mother, Anabell Isbell; father, Hugh Olen Isbell; brother, DeWayne Isbell; and father-in-law, Ray Don Newman.

He is survived by his wife of 43 years, Beverly Isbell; son, Daryn Isbell and wife Jessica of Niceville, Florida; daughter, Dondi Mock and husband Joel of Richmond Hill; four grandsons, Dawson and Landon Isbell and Joshua and Brett Mock; granddaughter, Lawren Isbell; two sisters, Rose Anna Bowman of Centrilla, Washington, and Beatrice Ramsey of Salina, Kansas; two brothers, Mike Isbell of Underhill, Wisconsin, and Patrick Isbell of Riverside, California; several nieces and nephews, extended family and lots of friends.

Bayer bids $62 Billion for Monsanto

 Little more than a week ago it became known that Bayer was engaged in talks regarding a possible Monsanto acquisition. Today, news comes that, Bayer has offered an all-cash takeover bid of $62 billion for Monsanto in a deal that would create the largest agrichemical business in the world, valued at approximately $103 billion. The bid equals $122 per share and values Monsanto at 37% above its closing price on May 9, reports the Wall Street Journal.

The maneuver by Bayer comes after falling commodity prices created a wave of consolidations in the agrichemical and agri-inputs sector involving rivals, Dow Chemical, DuPont, and Syngenta. Bayer currently has a hand in the farming business, with the division accounting for €10.37 billion of its total sales of €46.3 billion last year, but the bulk of its focus has historically been on pharmaceuticals. The BBC reports that if the deal is successful, however, it would shift Bayer’s portfolio, making half its business derived from agriculture.

“The acquisition of Monsanto would be a compelling opportunity to create a global agriculture leader while reinforcing Bayer as a Life Science company with a deepened position in a long-term growth industry,” said Bayer’s chief executive Werner Baumann in a company statement. “Monsanto is a perfect match to our agricultural business. We would combine complementary skills with minimal geographic overlap.”

 The deal would bring together leading Seeds & Traits, Crop Protection, Biologics, and Digital Farming platforms. Specifically, the combined business would benefit from Monsanto’s leadership in Seeds & Traits and Bayer’s broad Crop Protection product line across a comprehensive range of indications and crops, according to Bayer.

 Bayer’s newly appointed CEO, Werner Baumann, told CNBC’s Squawk Box that he is not anticipating any regulatory roadblocks hindering the completion of the deal, noting, “The beauty of this combination is that both businesses are highly complementary, and it’s very much a growth story that is behind the combination. The product portfolios complement each other perfectly. The regional fit is really great.”

 This offer marks the largest bid ever made by a German company after Daimler’s $38.6 billion bid made in 1998 for Chrysler, according to BBC.  Despite its size, Bayer states it will finance the bid through a combination of equity and debt including a share sale to cover approximately 25% of the total deal value, indicating a capital increase of about $15.4 billion Bayer’s chief financial officer, Johannes Dietsch told the Wall Street Journal.

 Bayer states that the expected cash flow generated after closing, as well as Bayer’s proven ability to de-leverage after large acquisitions would enable rapid leverage recovery post-acquisition, and that the consolidation would lift Bayer’s core earnings by a mid-single-digit percentage, with synergies valued at $1.5 billion after three years.

NOPA Crush Pace Slows

April soybean crush totaled 147.6 million bushels, according to the National Oilseed Processors Association (NOPA), the second largest April crush on record behind last year.

The crush pace slowed 5.8% from March and was 1.8% less than last year, but was in line with expectations.

Through the first eight months of the 2015-16 marketing year, NOPA crush is tracking 0.6% behind one year ago.