Trade development plays a large role in increasing overseas demand for U.S. Soy. The United Soybean Board recently provided an opportunity for a group of future checkoff farmer-leaders to visit Southeast Asia for an inside look at customers in the animal ag and soy food sectors that use U.S. Soy products. Brent Gatton, USB farmer-leader from Kentucky and Audit & Evaluation Committee Chair, led the See For Yourself tour and said it was important for the tours to start up again after a few years off.
“The program has been gone for the last few years because of the COVID years and things like that, so the committee felt that it was extremely important to bring a program like this back to help educate young U.S. soybean farmers that pay into the checkoff, to show them how their checkoff dollars play an important role not only into domestic markets but in international markets as well. And we got to see firsthand how our checkoff dollars provide a great return on investment for all U.S. soybean farmers. While we were there, we got to visit a variety of operations, from small local aquaculture farms to commercial aquaculture farms to small and commercial soy and tofu markets as well.”
The tour began in Cambodia before traveling to Vietnam and Singapore. He says the highlights included seeing soy checkoff dollars hard at work.
“WISHH is a program that’s called the World Initiative for Soy and Human Health, and what they are they’re your boots on the ground organization that kind of helps find these undeveloped markets to try to get in there to teach the producers about the value of using U.S. soy in aquaculture farms and things like that. WISHH finds these undeveloped markets and tries to help get a foothold and establish the market there. That’s when USSEC takes over and tries to help take it a step farther and actually get our product over there to show them what the value of using U.S. soy is.”
He says the mission was received very well at every stop on the trip, as international customers wanted to meet the U.S. soybean farmers who provide food supplies globally.
“We had six participants and we had six USB Directors that participated in this mission. We ranged as far west as Kansas and as far east as Delaware. And what was really neat is these customers truly want to meet a U.S. soybean farmer. They want to hear our story. They want to know the sustainable practices that we’re gonna do on our farm and how U.S. farmers provide the safest food supply in the world. So, it was really neat. They just really wanted to put a face with the product.”
To learn more about this mission, visit unitedsoybean.org/see-for-yourself.