ST. LOUIS (Jan. 6, 2014) – When a farmer unloads soybeans at the elevator after harvest, it may seem like the end of a long journey that was full of hard work and patience. But the elevator is actually just the first stop on a voyage that takes U.S. soybeans to various markets domestically and abroad. For soybean farmers wanting to know more about their customers beyond the elevator, and the soy checkoff’s role in marketing U.S. soy to those customers, the United Soybean Board (USB) invites them to participate in the checkoff’s See for Yourself program.
All U.S. soybean farmers over the age of 18 can apply now for the seventh annual See for Yourself program. To apply, visit the USB website, www.UnitedSoybean.org/SeeforYourself, through April 4.
“The See for Yourself program is a once-in-a-lifetime experience,” said David Hartke, chair of USB’s Audit & Evaluation committee, which sponsors See for Yourself. “Participants get the opportunity to see the checkoff up close and the work it does to improve the bottom lines for U.S. soybean farmers across the country.”
The program offers 10 U.S. soybean farmers the chance to learn about and evaluate specific investment areas of the soy checkoff, such as international marketing, animal agriculture, industrial uses and soybean farmers’ freedom to operate.
Participants first travel to St. Louis, to witness firsthand, the operations of the checkoff and visit local sites related to domestic uses for soybeans.
Then, since about half of the soy produced in the United States is exported, participants will travel internationally to experience how international customers use soy.
“USB believes this program is important because participants not only see the checkoff first-hand, they also have the chance to evaluate its programs, as well,” Hartke said. “As a USB farmer-leader, I appreciate the perspectives these farmers bring and hearing their opinions on checkoff investments.”
The program is scheduled to take place Aug. 15-22 and USB will cover all related rooming, meal and travel expenses.
The 70 farmer-directors of USB oversee the investments of the soy checkoff to maximize profit opportunities for all U.S. soybean farmers. These volunteers invest and leverage checkoff funds to increase the value of U.S. soy meal and oil, to ensure U.S. soybean farmers and their customers have the freedom and infrastructure to operate, and to meet the needs of U.S. soy’s customers. As stipulated in the federal Soybean Promotion, Research and Consumer Information Act, the USDA Agricultural Marketing Service has oversight responsibilities for USB and the soy checkoff.