Companies in this industry grow and harvest soybeans and other oilseed-producing plants, such as sunflower, safflower, flax, and canola (also known as rapeseed). No major companies dominate the industry.
Worldwide, oilseed production totals about 450 million metric tons. Soybeans are by far the largest oilseed crop, accounting for about 70% of global production. Soybean production is concentrated in the Americas. Top soybean exporters include Brazil, the US, and Argentina. The US exports about half of its soybean production. China is by far the top destination for US soybeans, importing more than 1 million bushels annually. Other top destinations for US exports include the European Union, Mexico, Japan, and Taiwan.
The US oilseed farming industry includes about 310,000 farms, about 90,000 of which generate the majority of their revenue from oilseeds, with combined annual revenue of about $38 billion.
Demand is driven by trends in food consumption. The profitability of individual companies depends on efficient operations. Large companies have advantages in purchasing land and equipment. Small operations can compete effectively by specializing in organic and heirloom oilseeds. The US industry is concentrated: the top 15% of farms account for about 65% of revenue.
PRODUCTS, OPERATIONS & TECHNOLOGY
The industry's primary product is soybeans, which account for about 90% of oilseed farming revenue. Other products include sunflower seed, canola (also known as rapeseed), flaxseed, and safflower.
Soybeans are bushy, green legumes related to clover, peas, and alfalfa. Farmers plant seedlings in late...