Farmers look to soybean exports as path to profitability

Apr 10, 2017

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As farmers face their fourth straight year of declining incomes, soybeans are offering a glimmer of hope.

As Reuters reports, China’s demand for soybeans is providing a narrow path of profitability for U.S. farmers but fierce competition to supply China threatens the bottom line for U.S. growers, and 2017 prices, which are slightly higher than 2016 prices, are still projected to be 50 cents per bushel lower than they were three years ago.

Mike Jordan, a north central Kansas farmer plans to boost soy acreage by 10 percent after having successful yields and prices for his crop last year.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture forecasts farmers will plant close to 90 million acres of soybeans this year, an increase of 7.2 percent over last year, while corn acreage was estimated to decline.

Soybeans are also replacing wheat, which has struggled on the export market.

The U.S.D.A. expects China’s soybean imports to hit 87 million tons by Sept. 1, representing a quarter of the world crop and a 130 percent uptick in demand over the past 10 years.