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Management and Marketing Implications of Deforestation-Free Soybeans in the Southern Region

Starting December 24, 2024, the EU will require all imported soybeans to be deforestation-free and traceable to specific fields. Archer Daniels Midland (ADM) and the Farmers Business Network (FBN) have launched a Deforestation-Free Soybean Program to meet this requirement. This EU mandate will affect all elevators selling soybeans to Europe, prompting additional verification platforms across the U.S.

For Southern soybean producers, selling soybeans to ADM may require enrollment in ADM’s Deforestation-Free Soybean Program via the FBN website/app by June 1, 2024, and the submission of field boundary data by July 15, 2024. Enrollment is free, and by submitting field boundary data, FBN will use satellite imagery to verify that the soybeans were grown on land not deforested after December 31, 2020. Table 1 lists the ADM locations across the U.S. participating in the Deforestation-Free Soybean Program, with southern locations in Arkansas, Kentucky, and Tennessee impacted.

What constitutes not deforested? A field where more than 1.24 acres of trees were forested (including fence rows). Early indications also suggest that some ADM locations will only accept deforestation-free soybeans, albeit at a premium. ADM is offering up to a $0.15/bushel premium if farmers enrolled in the program and an additional $0.05/bushel if enrolled by May 1, 2024, and field boundary data submitted by June 1, 2024. 

For more information on enrolling in the program, please visit ADM’s re:source website here and contact your local ADM elevator for specific requirements. If you choose not to enroll in this program, selling to a different elevator could incur additional costs, particularly if your typical ADM site does not accept unenrolled soybeans. Understanding hauling costs and local basis when delivering to a different market is important, as it can impact fuel, labor, other operating costs, and marketing strategies. Contract options may be limited, and local basis could be affected.

The push for non-deforested beans may affect local markets and grain marketing decisions in the future. Similar premiums will likely be offered for other sustainable agriculture efforts, such as carbon sequestration. These changes provide opportunities but also challenge producers to adapt quickly to evolving market conditions.

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