Burke doesn't see soy exports leveling off for a long time. A large trading company recently reported Chinese pork consumption per capital is half of what it is in Hong Kong and Taiwan. He sees another 20 years of growth in the feed industry. The government wants to move another 20-30% of people into cities. Urbanization is predicted to peak out by 2026, but diets will continue to demand more protein.

Regarding exports to China, Burke says the U.S. is currently at 42% market share with China for soybeans, and he thinks that's good. We produce about 32% of total global soybean production. With South American competition shrinking some years, we are now a 12-month supplier to China instead of the four to six months in the past due to Chinese needs for soybeans year around. And if Chinese and Mexican demand goes the way it's going, we're going to have the tightest stocks we've ever had, he adds.

Burke concluded his talk with comments on a new market. By 2016, the U.S. has declared it will export food-grade non-GMO soybeans to China on a significant scale. North Dakota food-grade soybean growers are currently meeting in Beijing to promote their capabilities. Why? The national dietary recommendation for total per capita consumption of soy is currently 7 kg, and they want to get it to 10 kg and higher. What that means is 13.6 mmt of food-grade soy products are needed. China only produces 12 mmt, so that means there's more than 1-mmt potential.


Read more about the trade trip to China!

8 Current Challenges in Chinese Agriculture