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Minnesota Soybean checkoff investment in Uzbekistan leads to first ever shipment of soybean meal

Minnesota Soybean Research & Promotion Council announced that Uzbekistan traders imported 700 metric tons of U.S. soymeal earlier this month.

Soybeans
Uzbekistan recently imported soymeal from the U.S. after Minnesota's soybean checkoff built a relationship with the country.
Erin Ehnle Brown / Grand Vale Creative LLC
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The Minnesota Soybean Research & Promotion Council says its investment in Uzbekistan and establishing a relationship with the country has paid off.

Earlier this month, Uzbekistan traders imported 700 metric tons of U.S. soymeal, according to a press release from MSR&PC.

“Our checkoff investments are making history,” said Patrick O’Leary, farmer and MSR&PC member. “This shipment has potential to create a significant market for Minnesota soybean farmers.”

O’Leary said that getting soybeans to Uzbekistan can be challenging because it is a double landlocked country.

Since 2020, MSR&PC has invested checkoff dollars in projects in Uzbekistan to identify the country’s needs for U.S. soy. Those endeavors helped move the needle, said Kim Nill, council director of market development for MSR&PC.

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Nill said the group began with surveying the country’s poultry, dairy and aquaculture industries.

“We located all the big modern farms and were pleasantly surprised that they do have big modern poultry farms with modern genetics, medium-size dairies with modern Holstein genetics,” said Nill. “And quite frankly until we did the surveys, no one really was aware that they installed such modern technology and had entrepreneurs and the capital to put together those facilities.”

Chris Andrews is a contractor for MSR&PC who currently lives in Uzbekistan. He assisted with the surveys which sought to find if there was a need for U.S. soy in Uzbekistan. He said the work by MSR&PC in the country has “only just begun.”

“We need to keep pushing forward,” said Andrews.“The capital is there, and the technology is there to process U.S. soy.”

With a lack of resources in the region, U.S. soy is a unique opportunity for Uzbekistan importers, according to the release.

“U.S. soy that goes into Uzbekistan is not displacing anyone else,” said Nill.

The MSR&PC council is hopeful that the market for soy in the country will grow following the first shipment of U.S. soybeans in Uzbekistan.

“Right now they are testing the waters with our soybeans,” said Nill. “We need to keep chirping in their ear the benefits of our product.”

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Nill, along with other MSR&PC council members have another trade mission to Uzbekistan scheduled for September.

“Our intent is to thank the buyers for buying U.S. soy and see if there is anything we can do to make it easier in the future,” she said.

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