Richard Syverson

Past Participant Richard Syverson Sees SFY as Relationship Builder

With more than half of Minnesota’s annual soybean crop being exported each year, the Minnesota Soybean Research and Promotion Council (MSR&PC) uses a portion of the soybean checkoff to expand markets and build relationships with international customers. Because of the value exporting brings to soybeans, the Council offers Minnesota farmers an opportunity to evaluate these investments by participating in a See For Yourself (SFY) mission.

The 2016 SFY mission will be headed to Vietnam, with tentative dates of March 16, 2016, through March 27, 2016. Any questions on the trip can be directed to Keith Schrader, Vice Chairman of MSR&PC, at 507-649-1574 or Those interested in the mission can apply here.

Leading up to the 2016 SFY mission, Minnesota Soybean will be interviewing past participants about their mission experience.

Richard Syverson grows corn and soybeans in west central Minnesota, near Benson while also raising steers.

Q: Where did you travel to for your See For Yourself (SFY) mission?

A: I traveled to Japan and the Philippines during the 2014 See For Yourself mission.

Q: What influenced you to sign up for SFY?

A: I decided to sign up for the SFY mission because it was a chance for me to go and see where the crops I grow on my farm end up as well as see the end result. I was also particularly interested in Japan because I had been there previously and I wanted to see how the country had changed.

Q: What did you know about the soybean checkoff investment in the country before your SFY mission?

A: I honestly had never thought about it. I keep up-to-date by reading Minneline and soybean related newsletters and magazines but I never knew what we actually did until I went on the mission. It was great to see how well organized and involved MSR&PC is with investing overseas.

Q: What did you take away from your mission?

A: It struck me that while visiting restaurants and grocery stores, I was told I was in the food business, not the commodity business. I had never thought about it that way. The crop I am planting now ends up as someone’s food. I will never forget that. It makes you feel proud.

Q: What is one lasting memory that you will always remember from your mission?

A: While visiting the Philippines, I sat across the table from one of the biggest soybean buyers. The gentleman told me that United States’ soybeans are such high quality and they only want our product. Also, we asked several individuals what they had thought about the United States as a whole. We were told that the U.S. is the only country that steps up when no one else does. It’s a great feeling knowing that our product is looked at so highly and we are doing a great job here.

Q: Why should someone sign up for the SFY 2016 mission?

A: It is important for farmers to understand that we are involved in a global business. Because of this, we need to be willing to meet our customers and build those relationships. If we want them to continue to buy and use our soybeans, we have to know what they are looking for in our product. This mission allows you to do that. I cannot encourage people enough to sign up.

Q: What value do you see in the Minnesota Research and Promotion Council investing money overseas?

A: With more than half of Minnesota’s soybeans being exported, we need to remember that they are our customers and it brings value to our soybeans. Meeting our international customers allows us to promote our product and be able to cater to them and what they are looking for.