When a Japanese soy importer found higher than allowed residues of a fungicide in a small shipment of U.S. soybeans, it was up to the U.S. soy industry to demonstrate that the discovery was an isolated incident.
And the industry did just that, thanks to a study funded by the United Soybean Board (USB).
"We fund studies that support the sale of U.S. soybeans around the world," says Dwain Ford, USB director and soybean farmer from Kinmundy, IL.
Ford added, "In this case, because USB partners in Japan had a full agricultural chemical analysis of the 2011 U.S. soybean crop in hand, they were able to assure the Japanese importer that this was a unique occurrence and avoid a trade disruption with our third-largest export market."
The U.S. Department of Agriculture's Grain Inspection, Packers & Stockyards Administration (GIPSA) conducted the analysis, which has been funded by USB's Global Opportunities program.
Using statistically representative export samples of the most recent crop, this study analyzed the soybeans to determine if more than the allowable levels of agricultural chemical residues exist.
Remaining consistent with past years, the analysis of the 2011 crop showed no violations of agricultural chemical residue levels in U.S. soybean exports.
Further results show that the fungicide detected in this instance has never shown up in a GIPSA analysis of U.S. soybeans. In 2011, Japan imported 75.2 million bushels of U.S. soybeans.
"This study helps to protect U.S. soybean exports and assure our customers that we provide a safe, high-quality product year after year," says Ford. "Services such as the agricultural chemical residue study really help us to set our soybeans and our services apart from competitors of U.S. soy."
The 69 farmer-directors of USB oversee the investments of the soy checkoff to maximize profit opportunities for all U.S. soybean farmers. These volunteers invest and leverage checkoff funds to increase the value of U.S. soy meal and oil, to ensure U.S. soybean farmers and their customers have the freedom and infrastructure to operate, and to meet the needs of U.S. soy's customers.
As stipulated in the federal Soybean Promotion, Research and Consumer Information Act, the USDA Agricultural Marketing Service has oversight responsibilities for USB and the soy checkoff.
For more information on the United Soybean Board, visit www.unitedsoybean.org.