It is easy to get wrapped on in the day-to-day operations of farming, quickly forgetting what farmers are doing on a global level to contribute to the world’s food source. This past February, 13 farmers from Minnesota and North Dakota traveled abroad to see how their products are impacting the global economy.
See For Yourself, a program sponsored by the Minnesota Soybean Research and Promotion Council allows farmers to see first-hand what impact they are making in the global market. “As a soybean farmer, we bring our soybeans to the local elevator and don’t know exactly where they end up. Being given this opportunity has allowed us to meet those who rely on our quality product,” noted Rodd Beyer, a farmer near Wheaton, MN and a participant in this year’s trip.
This year, the group traveled to Chile and Colombia. “Chile is unique. First, it is home to the University of Minnesota soybean research plot, used for wintertime growing by soybean breeders.” Says MSR&PC chairman, Patrick O’leary, “Second, the aquaculture market is one the soybean industry has kept its eye on.”
Columbia was chosen because of their dependence on U.S. soybeans. “Columbia is the third largest importer of U.S.-origin soybean meal and the fifth-largest importer of U.S. -origin soybean oil,” says O’leary, “They’re a rapidly growing market and a real, genuine success story for U.S.-Columbian cooperation.”
The farmers that traveled to Columbia and Chile learned about many of the opportunities and challenges that face the soybean industry, particularly in Columbia.
Kevin Roepke, of the U.S. Soybean Export Council, talks about of the challenges that face Columbian agriculture, such as; geography, corruption and guerrilla groups directly impact the import of soybeans, but despite the challenge that face U.S. exports. “Columbia comes with many opportunities and challenges. But they are a tremendous success story for U.S. soybean farmers. There’s no better place to learn about competitiveness of U.S. soy than in Columbia.”
Learn more about MSR&PC’s See it for Yourself trip to Chile and Columbia.