Global Trade Exchange Bridges Gap Between Buyers and Farmers

November 6, 2019 Ohio Soybean Council

In August, the Ohio Soybean Council (OSC) participated in two events designed to connect local farmers and businesses with international trading opportunities. Nearly 800 soy and grain industry leaders, buyers and suppliers from more than 50 countries attended the U.S. Soybean Export Council’s (USSEC) annual U.S. Soy Global Trade Exchange and Specialty Grains Conference and Trade Show (GTE).

This year Bill Bayliss from Logan County, Jeff Magyar from Ashtabula County, and Bob Suver from Clark County, all soybean farmers and OSC board members, attended the GTE. The purpose of the event is to build relationships, share knowledge and do business with traders from all over the world.

At the Global Trade Exchange, international buyers met with U.S. exporters and farmers in meetings designed to build relationships.

The three board members participated in the Trade Team Invitational, buyer/seller speed meetings that help to build personal relationships between buyers and sellers. Trade teams are broken up by country and buyer type. Exporters then meet with and privately present to these trade teams for 30 minutes. All three farmers jokingly compared it to speed dating.

“It’s a short period of time,” admitted Suver, “But it really allows you to meet a wide variety of people and make personal connections with them.” The personal connections made at meetings like the GTE can really make a difference — as the result of another USSEC meeting in 2018, an Ohio supplier exported 10,000 metric tons of soybean meal crushed in Ohio to Oman.

But the Global Trade Exchange doesn’t represent OSC’s only effort to connect with global traders. Earlier in the month, trade teams from several Southeast Asian countries, including Japan, Taiwan and South Korea, visited Ohio farms and businesses to see the quality soybeans that are grown here. In 2018, the U.S. exported $947 million worth of whole soybeans to Japan, $803 million worth of whole soybeans to Taiwan and $214 million worth of soybean oil to South Korea.

Over the course of four days, the groups visited Bill Bayliss’ farm in Logan County, Steve Reinhard’s farm in Crawford County, Dan Schwartz’s farm in Trumbull County, CGB, Rogers Grain, KAPI and Bluegrass Farms. After their tours were finished in Ohio and some surrounding states, some of the trade teams went on to attend the GTE to further their U.S. Soy experience.

A group of international buyers visits Bill Bayliss’ farm in Logan County.

“I enjoy hosting trade teams on my farm because we can talk with buyers face-to-face and prove to them what a great product is grown here in Ohio,” said Bayliss. “The relationships that we form help keep the U.S., and Ohio specifically, top of mind when it comes time to buy.”

At both larger conferences and smaller trade team visits, OSC promotes Ohio’s high-quality, high-protein commodity and non-GMO soybeans. Farmer leaders also promote Ohio’s effective logistics and infrastructure for exporting. Learn more about the checkoff-funded work OSC is doing to promote international exports here.