A significant amount of U.S. soybeans and corn are indirectly marketed internationally through high protein rations fed to livestock and poultry. The meat is exported to other countries.
“It’s a way for us to add value to a product that we grow, whether that would be on the corn and soybean side or adding value through meat exports,” said Mark Jagels, a corn and soybean grower in Nebraska who is also vice chairman of the U.S. Meat Export Federation. Jagels goal, like other farmers who raise corn and soybeans, is to get the best yield he can.
“We have to find a home for what we’re doing,” said Jagels. “We’re producing more domestically; we probably aren’t using any more inside the United States, but exporting the soybean product or adding value to the pork side, to the poultry side, to the beef side.”
There’s a profitable relationship between soybean and corn growers and livestock producers, according to Jagels, who cites a study by Cornell University indicating that return on the checkoff export promotion investment is seven to one. On a beef animal, which Jagels raises, he says exports add $200 per head.
“Without that extra $200 that we’re getting just because we’re exporting the product, that is actually making us profitable,” said Jagels, “We’re making money instead of losing money.”
Jagels says those promotions, resulting in record 2011 pork and beef exports, benefited both livestock and grain producers.
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