When you consider that Illinois produces more than 14 percent of the nation's soybeans, you quickly realize the importance of having a strong export market in place. In fact, U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) estimates revealed that in 2011, 13 percent of the country's soybean exports originated in Illinois... and were worth $1.85 billion. That's why ISA allocates Illinois soybean checkoff funds toward helping grow demand and, ultimately, the world market for soybeans.
Since its beginnings, ISA has remained dedicated to meeting international demand for high-quality soybeans and soy-based products. Efforts include assisting foreign buyers with soybean, meal and oil purchases; hosting farm tours for more than 30 trade teams each year; and facilitating transportation to get specific soybean varieties to buyers worldwide.
On June 21, 2011, ISA was recognized for its outstanding export efforts by being named as the Governor's Export Promotion Agency of the Year. This award, created by the Illinois legislature in 1993, recognizes Illinois organizations that provide substantial export assistance to Illinois companies.
Although Illinois soybeans are primarily used overseas in livestock feeds, they also are found in human foods and industrial products like biodiesel. According to the United Soybean Board (USB), they are more specifically found in these countries and applications:
- China - helping advocate soybean use in kitchens, as well as in animal agriculture as feed for swine, poultry and aquaculture
- Southeast Asia/Middle East/Africa - establishing relationships with prospective buyers and providing expert guidance for local processors
- Latin America - building value for your soybeans by promoting use in common kitchens
- Europe - developing awareness of soy-based biodiesel products by capitalizing on the high rate of diesel use
- Japan - encouraging innovation in the application of soy-based products, such as biodiesel, plastics, lubricants, etc.