BUENOS AIRES, ARGENTINA — For the first time in more than two decades, Argentina is importing U.S. soybeans, according to a May 30 Global Agricultural Information Network report from the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

A severe drought in the summer of 2017 in Argentina, the world’s third largest soybean producer and No. 1 soybean meal and oil exporter, led to a soybean crop of 36 tonnes, down from 54 million tonnes the year before, the report said.

With the country’s soybean crushing industry, which has an annual crush capacity of 67 million tonnes, needing more soybeans, Argentina is looking to other countries to fill that void, including the United States.

“With the potential arrival of U.S. soybeans, an import event not seen in several decades, the status of entry protocols became a point of discussion, especially relative to biotech events,” the USDA said. “The U.S. and Argentina have some differences in approved events, but among those, most are not commercialized in the U.S. However, one event, MON87708-9, Genuity Roundup Ready 2 Xtend, is commercialized in the U.S. and not approved in Argentina. Sources within the Argentine government relate that this event may be approved for feed, food and processing by the fall.”

In April, U.S. private exporters reported to USDA contracts for shipments totaling 490,000 tonnes of soybeans for delivery in the 2017-18 and 2018-19 marketing years, with import sales possible in the near future of up to 1 million tonnes, depending on market conditions.