$4.5 million in new Virginia soybean exports to Southeast Asia

virginiaGov. Terry McAuliffe announced $4.5 million in new export sales of Virginia soybean products by Perdue Agribusiness to markets in Southeast Asia, an important and growing region with high demand for agricultural inputs from the United States.

Soybeans and soybean meal are two of Virginia’s largest agricultural exports, with over $870 million worth of these products leaving the state for international markets in 2016 and over $55 million to the Southeast Asia region.

The announcement was made during the ninth annual Virginia Governor’s Conference on Agricultural Trade being held in Richmond. The sale was made as a result of a reverse trade mission of soybean buyers from Southeast Asia, arranged by the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (VDACS) and coordinated by VDACS’ Southeast Asia-based trade representative.

“I am pleased to announce these new sales of one of Virginia’s most important agricultural exports, a direct result of our sustained focus on international agriculture and forestry marketing efforts around the world,” said Governor McAuliffe. “This is exactly the type of relationship we need to create in important emerging markets like those in Southeast Asia in order to grow our international sales. Our Commonwealth’s exports are vital to generating revenue, jobs, and building the new Virginia economy.”

“Southeast Asia represents a significant emerging market for Virginia agriculture and forestry products,” said Basil Gooden, Secretary of Agriculture and Forestry. “We just opened the VDACS international agricultural trade office in Southeast Asia and I am thrilled that this great success has resulted from their efforts after being open just five months. Our international agricultural trade offices are a critical resource for Virginia producers, as is our ability to bring overseas buyers here to Virginia to meet our producers face-to-face. I encourage all of my fellow farmers to take advantage of the exceptional services provided by these representatives.”

Perdue Agribusiness is headquartered in Salisbury, Maryland, but the company’s primary grain and soybean export facility is located in Chesapeake, Virginia.  The company purchases grain and soybeans from farmers across the Commonwealth, processing and exporting them from the Chesapeake plant.  Perdue made these new sales to Southeast Asia after striking up relationships with new buyers who participated in the VDACS reverse trade mission.

“VDACS’s work to bring these buyers to Virginia to meet with us and our farmers, and to see our facilities, was absolutely critical in making these sales happen,” said Dick Willey, President of Perdue Agribusiness. “Southeast Asia is an important market for Perdue and one we are trying to grow substantially. The assistance VDACS and their international offices provide is a major resource in helping us achieve that goal. We are thankful for the assertive approach Virginia is taking toward growing agriculture and forestry exports.”

Kishan Shenoy, Perdue’s Vice President of International Merchandising added “We are pleased to be working with the VDACS staff and international offices to promote Virginia grains and soybeans to Southeast Asia and other markets around the world.”

Agricultural and forestry exports from Virginia were valued at $2.75 billion in 2016. Virginia’s agriculture and forestry exports to Southeast Asia reached $178.5 million last year, of which about $55.1 million were soybeans and soybean meal, the largest category of exports to the region. Southeast Asia was Virginia’s 4th largest agriculture and forestry customer in 2016.

According to a 2013 economic impact study conducted by the Weldon Cooper Center for Public Service at the University of Virginia, agriculture and forestry are two of Virginia’s largest industries with a combined economic impact of $70 billion annually.  Agriculture generates more than $52 billion per annum, while forestry induces over $17 billion.

The industries also provide more than 400,000 jobs in the Commonwealth.  More information about the Weldon Cooper Center’s study can be found at coopercenter.org/node/2/publications/economic-impacts-agriculture-and-forestry-virginia-revised-2012