China Tells Farmers To Grow More Soybeans Amid Trade Fight With U.S.

The order came in April. China’s government instructed farmers in the country’s northeastern breadbasket region to grow more soybeans, calling it “a political priority.”

But soybean fields lay empty in the village of Sandaogou, which means “Three Ditches,” in Liaoning province. It has been a dry spring.

“We’ve had a drought this year, so we planted soybeans late. The seedlings should be out by now. We need more rain,” says farmer Liu, who only gives her surname for fear of trouble with local authorities. Soy, after all, has become “political.”

China is the world’s largest consumer of soybeans, a key product for making things like oil and pig feed, and is America’s biggest buyer of the beans. But China has raised tariffs on a number of items including soybeans shipped from the U.S., in retaliation against new import duties on Chinese goods imposed by the Trump administration. On Monday, President Trump ordered his trade representative to draft a new list of $200 billion in Chinese goods for further tariffs, in a sharp escalation of the trade fight between the world’s top two economies.

In May, China’s agriculture ministry said the country will reduce its soybean imports for the first time in 15 years. To make up for part of the loss, the central government ordered local authorities to set aside 1.6 million acres of land to grow more soybeans. The country already cultivates nearly 21 million acres of the crop.

But here in Sandaogou, farmer Liu says while she grows soy on a collective farm she works on, she prefers to grow corn on her own plot of land.

“It’s too risky to grow soybeans, and the income is less stable than growing corn,” says Liu. “You don’t lose money growing corn. Soybean yields are too low.”

China produced 14.2 million metric tons of soybeans last year and imported almost 100 million more to meet domestic demand, according to figures from the U.S. Department of Agriculture. A third of those imports were from the U.S.

“None of us wants a trade war,” says Si Wei, an expert in the soy trade at China Agricultural University. “But if it happens, we need to think about what’s important.”

Si says Chinese tariffs on imported U.S. soybeans will have a big impact on both the American and Chinese markets.

“Judging from the land and water resources we have, I don’t think it’s realistic to grow all the soybeans we need ourselves and completely replace U.S. imports. We use U.S. soybeans mostly for oil. We’d have to replace it with peanut and rapeseed oil,” he says.

Si says China can import those oils from Australia, Canada and Central Europe instead, but it won’t be an easy transition for China.

Back on the soybean farm in Three Ditches village, farmer Liu says she hasn’t heard about the trade spat between the U.S. and China. She unplugged her television months ago so that her son would focus on his studies.

But if the government asks her to grow more soybeans, she says she will — if the money is right.

She adds: “If they give me a better subsidy and provide sales channels for me, then why not?”


American Soybean Association Says U.S. Soy Growers in Middle of Tariff Dispute With China

America’s soy growers are lined up even more precisely in the crosshairs of President Trump’s contentious tariff confrontation with China.

President Trump announced Monday that $200 billion in additional Chinese goods will be hit with a 10 percent tariff, deepening the likely free fall in prices that producers of soy and soy products are feeling directly in their wallets and which threaten the stability of their market long-term.

“Soybean prices are declining as a direct result of this trade feud,” said John Heisdorffer, Iowa soybean grower and president of American Soybean Association (ASA).

“Prices are down almost a dollar and a half per bushel since the end of May – and continue to plummet.

“That represents a loss of more than $6.0 billion on the 2018 soybean crop in less than a month.

“We have approached the Trump Administration repeatedly and implored them to hear our side of this story.”

ASA is disappointed and highly concerned that trade tensions continue to ratchet up rather than deescalate between the two countries and that its repeated requests to the Administration for a non-tariff solution that does not threaten the market stability and livelihoods of soy growers has not been put forward.

Last Friday, China responded in kind to the United States’ 25 percent tariffs on $50 billion of Chinese products under Section 301 of the Trade Act of 1974 with its own 25 percent tariffs on $50 billion of American goods, including soybeans.

In 2017, China imported 60 percent of total U.S. soybean exports, representing nearly 1 in 3 rows of harvested soybeans, with a value of $14 billion.

For more information, please contact Wendy Brannen at 202-684-6070 or

Waupun Selected as Site for First Wisconsin Soybean Crushing Facility

Waupun could be home to Wisconsin’s first soybean crushing facility.

If approved, construction would begin in 2019 and the facility would open in 2020, processing up to 100,000 bushels of soybeans a day, a release from the city and the Wisconsin Soybean Marketing Board said. Waupun and the Wisconsin Soybean Marketing Board are jointly soliciting the facility’s development.

For Waupun, the $150 million facility would bring 39 full-time jobs and $2.2 million annually in estimated payroll, the release said.

65.5-acre location in Waupun Industrial Park has been selected as the potential site for the project following a feasibility study conducted by Frazier, Barnes & Associates, LLC.

The feasibility study looked at “where soybeans are grown and the logistics requirements needed to make the project work,” said Waupun City Administrator and Director of Economic Development Kathy Schlieve.

Farmers in Dodge and Fond du Lac counties produced 6.8 million bushels of beans in 2017, the release said. Within a 100-mile radius of the city, this number jumps to 62.5 million bushels.

Along with being located in “the heart of prime agricultural land,” the site is close to the U.S. 151 corridor, allowing for ease of transport, and has access to rail, Schlieve said.

While Wisconsin has 18,000 soybean farmers and ranks as the 12th largest soybean producer in the country, the state does not have a soybean crushing facility. Instead, soybeans are shipped elsewhere and must be transported back to farms once processed into soy protein, soy oil or “soy meal” used for animal feed, the release said.

Wisconsin Soybean Marketing Board Executive Director Robert Karls said having an in-state facility would make sense and bring a benefit to farmers. Costs for farmers would be reduced, jobs kept in the state, and infrastructure wear and tear reduced, he said.

Schlieve said Waupun has been looking to diversify its “economic base with a project that can be a catalyst for future growth.”

“We have a strong focus on expanding value-added agriculture processing, and it was clear, after reviewing the analysis, that we have a strong match for our community,” Schlieve said.

In addition to helping soybean farmers, Schlieve said it could also develop business opportunities that support the processing, including businesses in logistic service sectors and construction, machinery and equipment manufacture, “other value-added processors” and local producers in the supply chain.

Wisconsin Soybean Marketing Board filed an air permit with the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, which is needed for businesses that “emit pollutants to the atmosphere.” According to the DNR, it “protects public health and the environment by requiring that owners of operators comply with all applicable state and federal air regulations.”

Schlieve stated that “the proposed facility meets or exceeds all federal, state and local government requirements for emission.”

A draft of the permit is published by the DNR on its website. Those wishing to contribute commentary to the application can do so until July 11. A public hearing will be June 28.

The project will move forward with the issuance of a final permit from the DNR. Work to be done prior to construction includes engineering work, investment details, plan reviews and the creation of a tax increment financing district.

Assistant Plant Manager Position Available at Louis Dreyfus Company

Louis Dreyfus Company is a leading merchant and processor of agricultural goods, leveraging its global reach and extensive asset network to deliver for our customers around the world.

The Company is currently seeking an Assistant Plant Manager to support and assist management of plant operations and support in developing/administering production policies and programs, for a soybean crushing and biodiesel plant in Claypool, IN.

In addition, this position also ensures that standards in the following areas are met: emergency management, maintenance, security, facility up-keep, housekeeping and customer service.

Primary Role & Responsibilities:

  • Assist in establishing performance objectives for operation, budgets and schedules, and ensures all required safety and environmental regulations are complied with, while producing the quantity and quality of the product required.
  • Participates in long-range planning decisions, recommends capital improvements, cost reduction improvements.
  • Develop and monitor production schedules to ensure that completed products are shipped on time and in accordance with customer expectations.
  • Oversee the impact of operations on the environment by monitoring quality of plant effluents and emissions, coordinates efforts with Area Managers to ensure plant-wide compliance.
  • Ensure effective communication throughout the facility; including with regards to Company policies and assures understanding, and promotes teamwork and implements beneficial training methods.
  • Assist with employee development, personnel development plans, performance appraisal process
  • Assist with staffing and recruitment efforts


  • At least 3 years of experience managing an oilseed crushing or biodiesel facility outside of our organization OR at least 2 years of management experience at our Company oilseed plants
  • High school diploma/GED
  • Valid Driver’s License
  • Knowledge of applicable government regulations, personnel policies, etc.
  • Knowledge of applicable state and federal regulations regarding EEO, safety, health and environmental management, etc.
  • Knowledge necessary to accomplish the safe and timely start-up of a processing plant
  • Ability to effectively lead Production, Maintenance, Laboratory, Utility, Environmental, Health and Safety Managers and Team Leaders by exhibiting high ethical standards, engendering trust and empowering subordinates.
  • Ability to climb stairs and ladders as well as work at heights, manage confined space entry, withstand extended periods of walking and standing; and move manufacturing materials, products and equipment of 50 pounds or more, which requires bending and lifting

Interested Applicants: Please click on the link below to apply for the role:

China to Increase Imports of U.S. Oil and Grains

China will import record volumes of U.S. oil and is likely to ship more U.S. soy after Beijing signaled to state-run refiners and grains purchasers they should buy more to help ease tensions between the two top economies, trade sources said on Wednesday.

China pledged at the weekend to increase imports from its top trading partner to avert a trade war that could damage the global economy. Energy and commodities were high on Washington’s list of products for sale.

The United States is also seeking better access for imports of genetically modified crops into China under the deal.

China is the world’s top importer of both oil and soy, and already buys significant volumes of both from the United States. It is unclear how much more Chinese importers will buy from the United States than they would have otherwise, but any additional shipments would contribute to cutting the trade surplus, as demanded by Trump.

China’s state grain stockpiler Sinograin returned this week to the U.S. soybean market for the first time since early April, two sources said.

Soybeans are America’s top agricultural export to China, worth $12 billion last year, and the absence of Chinese buyers from the market had left U.S. farmers wondering if their biggest buyers was going to want their next harvest.

Sinograin enquired about prices for U.S. soybeans this week, traders said, which market participants interpreted as a sign that government curbs on buying American goods had been lifted

“Sinograin is in the market today asking U.S. suppliers to make offers for shipment of old-crop as well as new-crop beans for shipment August onwards,” said a source who works at a private soybean crushing company in China.

“It is a clear message to even private companies that it is OK now to import U.S. beans.”

Two other sources briefed on the matter said Chinese state grain trader Cofco would be permitted to buy U.S. soybeans again, ending restrictions imposed by Beijing as trade tensions rose. The sources declined to be named as they are not authorized to speak to the media.


U.S. Soybean Crush Expected to Exceed Last Year

Thanks to production issues in Argentina, U.S. soybean producers are experiencing higher soybean crush levels when compared to recent years. USDA projects domestic crush is up 3.6% from this past marketing year. Additionally, the second half of this year could be even greater at 3.7% higher than last year.

The U.S. Census Bureau estimates March 2018 crush at 182.2 million bu. — 13% greater than March 2017. Improved crush margin is incentivizing greater crush in the U.S. Since Argentina is facing poor soybean production — down 654 million bu. from last year according to Todd Hubbs at the University of Illinois — there could be increased need for domestic soybean crush.

Soybean oil prices, on the other hand, are weaker as stocks grew 0.8% compared to March of last year. Oil prices decreased from 31.6 cents per pound in early February to 29.5 cents per pound over last month in Decatur, Ill., Hubbs says. Crush strength is heavily dependent on soybean meal markets—which are growing rapidly because of Argentina’s production problems.

“Soybean meal use needs to continue to build on recent progress to meet or exceed the current crust projection,” Hubbs adds.

April’s WASDE report increased domestic soybean meal consumption by 250,000 tons and exports by 100,000 tons. That’s a 4.5% increase over last year. Domestic increases are largely due to livestock production expansion over this past year. USDA projects exports at 7.8% greater than last year and the last half of the year could be 14% larger than the second half of this past marketing year.

“While soybean exports continue to disappoint, soybean crush levels maintain a pace to set record levels of use associated with crush this marketing year,” Hubbs says. “Domestic use of soybean meal appears set to maintain support for strong crush margins.”

Mato Grosso March Soybean Crush Hits All-Time High

Soybean crushing in Brazil’s largest producing soybean state hit an all-time high of 913,500 mt in March on high availability of the bean as the harvest work was completed mid-April, IMEA said in a note published late Monday.

The March crush was up 10.77% on the month and up 10.68% compared to March 2017.

IMEA expects the strong pace to continue for the rest of the season, with the total crush for 2017/18 anticipated at 9.25 million mt, just under last year’s all-time high of 9.37 million mt.

Total production for the state is estimated at 32.17 million mt, an all-time high and up 2.3% from last year’s record.

However, state end-stocks will halve during the season to just 220,000 mt as exports and domestic demand are up 2.8%, driven by healthy bean and meal prices and a rise in international demand.

The 2017/18 soybean harvest in Mato Grosso was one of the first to be completed in Brazil and progress was completed by April 5, Brazil-based consultants Agrural said at the end of last week, with the entire country currently at 85%.

High international meal prices also propelled the US March crush to an all-time high of 171.858 million bushels (4.7 million mt) of soybeans, up 11.8% on the month, data released by National Oilseed Processors Association (NOPA) showed Monday.

China Soybean Tariffs to Hit South America’s Crush

South America’s global soymeal market share will decline if China taxes US imports of soybeans, as US crush margins would widen, increasing meal exports and undercutting its southern neighbour, Rabobank said Thursday.

The proposed tariffs on US soybeans by China would have “severe” implications on global trade, the Dutch bank said, shifting China’s soybean demand – the largest net importer – from the US to South America.

China imports 90% of its soybean needs, of which 34% are sourced from the US, and Chinese crushers would not be able to pass on the inflated costs.

Reduced demand for US beans, partially offset by rising exports to the EU and Southeast Asia, would drag down US prices, while American farmers would opt to plant more corn and fewer beans, the bank said.

However, the fall in US bean prices would widen local crush margins and increase US crush rates, as the country becomes a more dominant soymeal exporter fuelled by an increasing global demand for protein.

Meanwhile, a rise in Chinese demand for South American beans would have a bullish effect on local bean prices, while global soymeal prices will be capped by the rise in cheaper American soymeal exports.

South American soymeal prices will have to rise to ensure a viable crush, “but this will weaken the price-competitive advantages of South America as the leading soymeal exporter,” the Dutch bank said.

Longer term, the Dutch bank expects an expansion in crush capacity in the US, EU and South-East Asia, with limited growth in South America and China, while South America, the EU and China would each increase soybean plantings.

Recap: 86th Oil Mill Operators Short Course … April 8-10 … Indianapolis, IN

Oilseed processing industry professionals from the United States, Canada, and Europe convened for the 86th annual Oil Mill Operators Short Course, April 8-10, at the Westin Indianapolis hotel in Indianapolis, IN.

The one-and-a-half day course hosted by Texas A&M University’s Process Engineering Research & Development Center (PERDC) and IOMSA covered topics such as separator application and maintenance, the utilization of expanders on pre-press cake, cooling water best practices, extractor design, smart manufacturing, roller mill monitoring, press design, and dust hazard analysis.

In addition, the class toured Separators Inc., Indianapolis Motor Speedway and Museum, and also attended a Minor League Baseball game between the Indianapolis Indians and Toledo Mud Hens.

For more information and photos from the 86th Oil Mill Operators Short Course, see the upcoming May/June issue of Oil Mill Gazetteer.

For more information on upcoming Texas A&M PERDC short courses, click here.

Zeeland Farm Services Affiliate to purchase Iowa Soybean Facility

An affiliate of Zeeland Farm Services Inc. plans to purchase a soybean facility, soy flour mill, grain elevator, and non-GMO soybean inventories in Creston, IA.

Executives with ZFS Creston LLC, an affiliate of the Zeeland-based agricultural and transportation company, say the acquisition from farming cooperative CHS Inc. places the company in the “rich and storied” agricultural powerhouse of Iowa, Cliff Meeuwsen, president of ZFS Creston, said in a statement this week.

“We are looking forward to getting to know the Creston community, recovering jobs, increasing the opportunities for soybean growers around Creston, and growing the breadth of specialty products for our customers,” Meeuwsen stated.

According to the release, the new facility in Iowa can produce soybean meal, soy white flakes, soy flour and soybean oil.

The company plans to hire new employees for the facility, but didn’t disclose how many jobs would be added or when production will start.

Terms of the deal were not disclosed.