Twenty participants from across the globe traveled to the Upper Midwest on Aug. 12-16 for an educational overview of the soy industry. Organized by Northern Crops Institute (NCI) in Fargo, N.D., the INTSOY course is a tri-state collaboration to bring international soybean customers to the United States and explore new ideas for soy-based foods, animal nutrition and overall soybean production.
“This course provides an excellent opportunity for international customers to not only learn more about soy, but to start building relationships with both U.S. soy sellers and other overseas buyers,” says Kim Nill, director of market development for Minnesota Soybean Research & Promotion Council (MSR&PC). “The overview and technology that NCI provides is top-notch for these customers.”
Trekking across Minnesota, South Dakota and North Dakota, participants were able to tour key soybean facilities such as Buhler, Inc., South Dakota State University, Prairie AquaTech, TruShrimp and Central Farm Service Elevator and Shuttle Loading Facility.
“This course is really unique in its mix of academics, research, industry and practical hands-on experiences across a wide swath of the soy industry,” says Mark Jirik, NCI Director. “It is a great way for the participations to both see the power and versatilities of the soybeans, but also to meet the people behind the scenes and see the full supply chain.”
Participant occupations ranged across the entire soy industry, including sales, research and development, public service and factory management, most of which being referred by colleagues who have tended the class before.
“Word of mouth recruitment is one of the most powerful statements for the value of this course, along with presenters that are more than willing to come speak to the participants,” adds Jirik. “It speaks to the value that the U.S. soy industry sees in making these relationships happen.”
Participants were asked to provide anonymous feedback about their experience to help continually improve future courses.
“It was an incredible experience. I learned a lot about how to process and create new products with soy,” one participant reported. “Information on the science is great for training and advocacy back home.”
MSR&PC supports multiple NCI courses, including the INTSOY course. This course has been recognized by the soy industry because of the opportunity to learn from important soy professionals and the hands-on opportunity it provides international customers to learn about the high quality of Upper Midwest soybeans.
“The INTSOY course has proved value year-after-year,” Nill says. “We are excited to help NCI continue to provide this course and many others to promote our soybeans.”