April 20, 2020
As you read this, my son Ben and are I likely planting soybeans in one of our McLean County, Kentucky fields. Ben is the sixth generation of our family to farm some of this ground. Since the sun warmed the soil two weeks ago, we drive into the fields around 7 a.m. and call it a day around 10 p.m. Every morning, I rise knowing that is the job that I want to do. If you click on my video HERE, you can see the view from the cab of my 4730 John Deere. Thanks to auto steer and cell phones, I can speak to our WISHH team as I work.
We remain committed to carrying out WISHH’s vision and mission that U.S. soybean growers launched 20 years ago. In fact, COVID-19 is a reminder of the incredibly vital role that U.S. soybean farmers play in global food security and the sustained availability of protein-rich animal feed and human foods. Through WISHH, U.S. soybean farmers connect trade and development across global market systems, improving food security.
COVID-19 means we are going to need to collaborate more than ever with strategic partners around the world. Together, we can get quality protein to developing countries and emerging economies whether their need is feed for their fish, chickens or livestock or they are seeking a nutritious and affordable ingredient for human foods.
Today, WISHH is working with soy supply chain and other strategic partners to help them adapt so their food and feed operations remain resilient while facing COVID-19. Many of WISHH’s strategic partners are recognized as essential operations by their governments in developing and emerging economies in Africa, Asia and Central America where COVID-19 is creating unprecedented challenges to food security.
WISHH’s strategic partners are established community leaders, too. One African government requested the owner of a soyfoods manufacturing company that works with WISHH serve as a featured speaker in government public service broadcasts to provide recommendations on how people can reduce their risks of contracting COVID-19. The company has employees who are staying at the food factory to keep processing and packaging soyfoods, as well as deliver them by motor bike. Meanwhile, WISHH supply chain partners in Central America are running their lines at full capacity, and at the same time, implementing new food safety, worker health and other requirements.
WISHH is supporting these important partners by sharing scientific and technical resources. Staff are providing one-on-one consultations, as well as connecting our strategic partners to share ideas among countries.
Trade is vital to availability and affordability of much-needed food and feed around the world. WISHH will continue to work with U.S. soybean farmers and U.S. soybean exporting companies to ensure that U.S. soy continues to be readily available to global customers.
Last year’s growing season left an ending inventory of 480 million bushels of U.S. soybeans that went into storage. For this year, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s latest surveys project that U.S. soybean growers intend to plant 83.5 million acres (33.8 million hectares) in 2020. Assuming bad weather doesn’t interfere, that crop would be 10% larger than last year and the third-highest planted acreage on record.
U.S. soybean farmers continue to go to work for you. Together, we must remain committed to achieving global food security.