Building trust: WI soy checkoff investments in Uzbekistan relationship yield soymeal sale

Categories: WSMB, WSPPublished On: May 23, 20243 min read

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Signed, sealed and soon-to-be delivered.  

The Wisconsin Soybean Marketing Board (WSMB) has its sights set on growing export markets for the state’s soybean growers a vision that’s becoming closer to reality with the recent sale of 26 metric tons (MT) of soymeal from The DeLong Co. to Uzbekistan.  

“Strength lies in collaboration, and this sale of soybean meal is just the first step towards a future brimming with potential and possibility for Wisconsin soybean growers,” said Adam Kask, WSMB executive director.  

The 40-foot cargo container will take voyage from Norfolk, Virginia on a ship named The Bernard Schulte en route to Uzbekistan, but that’s only the beginning of its mission in a country that has set ambitious goals for developing livestock production, particularly in dairy farming. 

Mikhail Andritsov, veterinary doctor and consultant of the Dairy Association of Ukraine, says while Uzbekistan has a significant number of livestock farms, the efficiency of milk production remains low. That’s where this U.S.-origin soy comes into play. He plans to oversee a dairy cow feeding trial that will ultimately compare the performance of U.S.-origin soymeal to one previously used. 

The results, which Andritsov plans to share with other dairy producers throughout Uzbekistan, have the potential to rapidly increase demand for U.S.-origin soymeal in the country.  

“During my time so far spent working to help Uzbekistan’s large dairy farmers to improve the management of their operations, I have been pleased to discover that there are no insurmountable obstacles, and that these dairy farmers are willing to improve their management practices when I share with them how doing so will both increase their current profits and ensure they will achieve the maximum possible additional profit increase resultant via switching to use of U.S. soybean meal when it arrives here,” Andritsov said.  

‘Strengthening relations’ 

WSMB first planted the seed for this sale after pegging the landlocked country in Central Asia as a prime target for potential growth in 2023, funding an opportunity for Uzbekistan producers to see firsthand U.S. soy’s value.  

“Because the Uzbekistan dairy farmers, just like Wisconsin dairy farmers, are rightly skeptical toward any product claims that seem to be too great, it has been extremely important for the Wisconsin and Minnesota soy checkoff programs to provide some outright assistance in advance of the arrival of the DeLong soymeal,” Andritsov said.  

In 2023, six of the top Uzbekistan dairy farmers took a WSMB-funded trip to the World Dairy Expo in Madison. While on farm tours, Andritsov says they personally witnessed dairy cattle thriving on rations containing what he described as excellent quality U.S. soymeal, leaving the U.S. hungry for more knowledge.  

“They returned to Uzbekistan so enthused by their Dairy Expo experience that 20 of their Uzbek neighbors who are poultry producers then signed-up to pay their own way to attend the World Poultry Expo in Atlanta,” Andritsov said.      

Kask says these checkoff-funded experiences were critical leading up to this soymeal sale. 

“This sale is a testament to WSMB’s dedication to strengthening relations with world export markets,” he said. “We hope the research obtained through this sale lays the foundation for more confidence in U.S.-origin soymeal and a long-term relationship with Uzbekistan.”  

With this soymeal’s role in Uzbekistan’s dairy-development strategy, Andritsov says researchers will address key challenges and leverage opportunities for innovation and improvement, helping to reach the countries long-term goals of expanding its dairy farm infrastructure and research capabilities.  

“This will ultimately help the country achieve its goals of increasing milk production, improving product quality and enhancing the livelihoods of dairy farmers across Uzbekistan,” Andritsov said.