USDA export data for the 2004 marketing year, which began Sept. 1, indicate that U.S. soybean exports to China continue to increase. In fact, U.S. farmers have already exported over 65 million more bushels of whole soybeans to China this year than they did a year ago at this time.

U.S. soybean exports to China for the current marketing year equal approximately 286 million bushels. Although China is currently the largest customer of U.S. soybeans, the country is also viewed as a growth market for U.S. soybean exports. Soybean checkoff-funded international marketing activities build demand for U.S. soybeans in China by targeting marketing efforts toward the country's animal production and feed industries.

Soybean checkoff farmer-leaders anticipate that exports to the country will remain strong since China recently issued a final safety certificate for the importation of soybeans and soy products derived from biotech-enhanced Roundup Ready seed.