Animal agriculture represents the No. 1 customer for U.S. soybean farmers, with about 97 percent of U.S. soybean meal going to feed poultry, pigs, cows and fish around the world. In 2014, about 403,300 tons of soybean meal (from about 17.2 million bushels of soybeans) went to animal agriculture in Kansas. Of that, pigs consumed 46 percent, beef cattle consumed 39 percent, and dairy cattle consumed 11 percent.
Indirect soybean-meal exports in the form of meat have grown and are expected to continue to grow. According to an analysis of soybean-meal utilization, an increase in poultry and pork exports could be the largest driver for increased domestic utilization of U.S. soy.
In addition, by 2030, 62 percent of the fish consumed worldwide will be produced by aquaculture. Through the U.S. Soybean Export Council and the Soy Aquaculture Alliance, the Kansas Soybean Commission is active in helping to establish aquaculture programs around the world that will use U.S. soy as fish food.
Livestock and poultry farmers face a number of pressures, including diseases, global competition and groups opposed to animal agriculture. That is why the soybean checkoff works to inform farmers and their neighbors about the need to support animal agriculture.