The Wisconsin Soybean Marketing Board (WSMB) is consistently looking at opportunities to grow new and emerging soybean export markets. Through these efforts, the checkoff has pegged Uzbekistan, a landlocked country in Central Asia, as a prime target for potential growth.
In 2023, WSMB funded six Uzbekistan dairy producers to attend the World Dairy Expo in Madison, Wisconsin.
That same year, the USDA funded 10 Uzbeks to travel to Kansas State University in 2023 for two weeks of training in feed manufacturing and animal nutrition.
By partnering with the Minnesota Soybean Research & Promotion Council (MSR&PC), WSMB was able to use MSR&PC’s in-country representative, Chris Andrew, to recruit participants.
“Building relationships like the one we are cultivating with Uzbekistan is critical to growing export markets for Wisconsin soybean growers,” said WSMB Executive Director Adam Kask.
Upon returning from both trips and telling others of their key takeaways, 18 of Uzbekistan’s largest poultry producers decided to attend this year’s International Production & Processing Expo (IPPE) in early February.
During IPPE, MSR&PC Director of Market Development Kim Nill engaged with the Uzbek participants and met with three directors of Parrandasanoat, the Uzbekistan Association of Poultry Producers.
“They now realize the need to modernize their poultry production facilities, feed mills, etc. in order to keep up with feeding the record ten million tourists expected in Uzbekistan in 2024, plus the countries’ rapidly growing population, which is now at 37 million,” Nill said.
At IPPE, the Uzbek poultry producers were able to view some of these U.S. equipment and technologies that would help improve efficiencies and increase profits.
After IPPE concluded, WSMB and MSR&PC co-hosted an Uzbek trade team to visit Minneapolis; Duluth, Minn.; Chicago and Joliet, Ill., to meet with soybean meal exporters and other applicable soy industry professionals.
The group also stopped at the MSR&PC office, where one of the Uzbek soy traders gave a presentation to MSR&PC and WSMB staff.
“Uzbekistan consumes 200,000 metric tons of soybean meal,” said an Uzbek soy trader. “We have a growing industry. Our annual population is growing by two percent each year; therefore, the demand for poultry and meat continues to grow.”
During the visit, the trade delegations talked strategies and ability to purchase Minnesota and Wisconsin-origin soybeans.
“We want American soybean meal and beans flowing into Uzbekistan,” said an Uzbek soybean trader. “That’s why we are here – to find out how to do that.”
Utilizing maps and charts, both WSMB and MSR&PC showed routes through the Great Lakes St. Lawrence Seaway System as potential opportunities to export beans to Uzbekistan.
“Wisconsin is looking to get new processing plants within the state to help open new markets,” Kask said. “These are just the kind of opportunities we are looking for.”