CHICAGO, Jan 15 (Reuters) - The National Oilseed Processors Association, the largest U.S. trade group for oilseed crushers, said on Tuesday it will distribute its monthly production data exclusively through the Thomson Reuters information and news service beginning in February.
The monthly statistics are closely watched by the U.S. and world grain trade as they provide a key gauge of soybean supply and demand inside the world's single largest soybean-growing nation.
The NOPA report - which reveals the amount of soybeans processed into soymeal and soyoil as well as member data on soyoil stocks, oil yield, and meal exports - has become more important to the grain and food industry after the U.S. Census Bureau discontinued its monthly oilseeds report in 2011 due to budget cuts.
"We represent domestic soybean processors and we are good at that but we're not in the distribution business and Thomson Reuters is. It's a very good fit," said Tom Hammer, president of NOPA.
NOPA members include giant soybean processors such as Archer Daniels Midland, Bunge and Cargill, major independents such as Incobrasa and big farm cooperatives including CHS Inc and Ag Processing (AGP).
NOPA members account for 95 percent of U.S. soybean processing capacity. Soybeans are crushed into two widely used products - soybean meal, a key high-protein livestock feed, and soybean oil, used in many food products and for industrial uses that include biodiesel fuels and paint.
NOPA said it will release its monthly report at noon Eastern time (1700 GMT) on the 15th of each month, effective Feb. 15. The report previously was released on the 14th of each month at or near 8:30 a.m. ET.