Four Minnesota soybean farmers travel abroad for leadership development experience

International trade is paramount to the bottom line of Minnesota’s 27,000 soybean growers.

With more soybeans being produced in Minnesota than ever before, the Minnesota Soybean Research & Promotion Council (MSR&PC) has curated a unique opportunity where four soybean farmers are currently in the Philippines and Malaysia for a marketing, networking and leadership development experience.

About 60 percent of Minnesota soybeans are exported to international markets, resulting in about $2 billion each year. MSR&PC chair Patrick O’Leary says the Council continues to focus on cultivating relationships with international customers and providing leadership-enhancing experiences for Minnesota farmers.

“This experience will give participants an opportunity to develop their leadership potential and build themselves into future leaders,” O’Leary says. “This program helps give farmers an opportunity to share their story with international customers and develop leadership skills to utilize back home and abroad to support Minnesota’s agricultural industry.”

In order to continually grow markets and promote soybeans, the soybean checkoff invests money in market development activities worldwide that ultimately help farmers’ bottom lines. O’Leary says MSR&PC created an opportunity where farmers can build relations with current and potential soybean buyers in Southeast Asia through a value-added international leadership and marketing experience.

“This experience is like no other,” says Kim Nill, Minnesota Soybean’s director of market development. “Soybean exports are so important to our farmers and the Minnesota economy. The chance to develop relationships with potential buyers of Minnesota soybeans and continued development of our farmers is the reason we created this program.”

The list of Minnesota participants include: O’Leary of Benson, Minn.; Christian Lilienthal of Arlington, Minn.; Margie Salentiny of Dundee, Minn.; and MSR&PC Director Ben Storm of St. Charles, Minn.

Follow The Conversation