ISA President Jeff Jorgenson standing in soybean field

Iowa Soybean Association President Jeff Jorgenson says record Chinese soy imports are expected for 2021. (Photo: Joseph L. Murphy/Iowa Soybean Association)

New Year Kicks Off with Substantial Soybean Sales to China

January 15, 2021

Statement on behalf of Iowa Soybean Association President Jeff Jorgenson of Sidney, 

“When Iowa soybean farmers rung in a new year following one of the most challenging economic times faced in recent decades, they weren’t disappointed. Nearly 2 million metric tons (MMT) of soybeans have made their way to China in just the first week of 2021, according to reports from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA).

“As China continues to rebuild its swine herd following the economically devastating African swine fever, strong international demand makes its way back to U.S soy. Chinese customs data as of Jan. 13 showed the country imported a record-high 100.33 MMT of soybeans in 2020, up from 88.51 MMT in 2019 according to the General Administration of Customs. That’s up 13.3% from year-ago levels. Total export sales, shipments and unshipped commitments are up over 83% compared to this time last year. Chinese crushers expect 2021 soy imports to set a new record. 

“These import numbers bode well for China’s purchasing commitments outlined in the Phase 1 agreement implemented last February. Despite ramping up purchases in 2020, China fell short of the agreed-upon $36.6 billion in agricultural imports. A strong start to the new year offers optimism that Beijing will follow through with its intended commitments for 2021.

“While China continues to ramp up purchases, the Iowa Soybean Association (ISA) continues to build relations and sales of soybeans to Pakistan, Bangladesh and the Philippines. ISA is driven to deliver markets and new uses to provide sales opportunities for Iowa soybean farmers. The soybean checkoff will also continue funding innovative research into soy-based polymers for industrial and commercial uses and expanded biodiesel production.

“As Iowa’s economy and rural communities continue to feel the impact of COVID-19, soybean growers welcome the news of substantial purchases from China and the outlook for increased international demand throughout 2021.”

The Iowa Soybean Association ( is “Driven To Deliver” increased soybean demand through market development and new uses, farmer-focused research and results, timely information and know-how and policy initiatives enabling farmers and the industry to flourish. Founded in 1964 by farmers to serve farmers, ISA is governed by a board of 22 farmers to advocate on behalf of the state’s 40,000 soybean producers, including more than 15,000 ISA farmer members and industry stakeholders.