CHICAGO: The Illinois Soybean Association Checkoff Program has brought on Finn Partners for a national education and thought leadership campaign focused on global supply chain, logistics, and transportation.
Illinois is the largest soybean-producing state in the U.S., and the Illinois Soybean Association represents more than 43,000 soybean farmers, with a mission to support market development and expansion for soybeans globally, the firm said in a statement.
Finn Partners was hired in mid-September following a formal RFP that started in the summer. The contract is for one year. Budget information was not disclosed.
The Checkoff Program will highlight the fact that containerized shipping represents only about 5% of Illinois soybean shipments, yet it offers an efficient way to ship smaller, more diverse varieties of soybeans "to customers with greater product integrity and stronger chain of custody," a statement said.
Dan Pooley, a founding managing partner at Finn Partners and the leader of Finn Midwest, explained that expanding market and shipping opportunities are important amid the trade dispute between the U.S. and China, the largest importer of American soybeans. Shipping via containers lets exporters customize shipments to buyer preferences, which vary widely across the APAC region.
Finn Partners is tasked with promoting the opportunities that containerized shipping offers growers, processors, brokers, and exporters. The agency is conducting a strategic media relations and thought leadership program supported by events, awards, and content development through August 2019.
"The U.S. brings in millions of square footage of containerized products and many of the containers are leaving empty because of trade imbalances that are just natural," said Pooley. "And yet most of these containers are an opportunity to diversify soybean exports – the products being sent out and the markets they can ship to."
President Donald Trump’s trade policies have reportedly led to a 94% cut in U.S. soybean exports to China, forcing Midwestern farmers to stockpile crops. China is the largest buyer of U.S. soy, but has purchased little since Beijing retaliated with steep tariffs on U.S. shipments on July 6 in retaliation for duties on Chinese goods.
"China has been our historical biggest customers for U.S. soybeans, but with containers we can reach Europe, other countries in Asia, APAC, and Africa," said Pooley.
This account is being supported by Finn Partners’ Chicago office, led by Casy Jones, partner and head of the supply chain practice. He is overseeing a team of five staffers on the account.
"A lot of eyes are on this and other industries that are navigating a lot of change right now in global trade," said Pooley.