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 firstname.lastname@example.org. The registration link is below.
Leading up to the 2016 SFY mission, Minnesota Soybean will be interviewing past participants about their mission experience.
Mark Lenort is a diverse farmer from Martin County. He has a sow farrow-to-finish operation, with cattle, sheep, goats and chickens. He also grows corn, soybeans, alfalfa, sweet corn and peas.
Q: Where did you travel to for your See For Yourself (SFY) mission?
A: I traveled to Japan and the Philippines in 2014.
Q: What influenced you to sign up for SFY?
A: I had heard about the mission being promoted and it seemed like a once in a lifetime experience. I decided to just apply, not expecting to get picked. It was at the right time in my life that I could do this mission.
Q: What did you know about the soybean checkoff investment in the country before your SFY mission?
A: Honestly, I thought our checkoff dollars were put towards advertisement and radio ads. I didn’t realize that it was far above that and we were so involved overseas.
Q: What did you take away from your mission?
A: There isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t think about the trip. There’s so many things that remind me of what I learned and saw. We have it made here in the United States and there’s so much we take for granted.
Q: What is one lasting memory that you will always remember from your mission?
A: It was interesting to see how dependent others are on our product. Because rice is a large portion of their daily intake, they rely on our soybeans for protein. I didn’t realize how important we were to other countries’ diet. I also think learning about the other culture was very interesting. I was able to meet civilians and eat their delicacies, like century eggs, which are preserved eggs kept in the ground for 100 days.
Q: Why should someone sign up for the SFY 2016 mission?
A: Being able to be on a mission that is directly related to agriculture and see how people rely on us is truly a once in a lifetime experience. If the opportunity works, take it. You may never get another one.
Q: What value do you see in the Minnesota Research and Promotion Council investing money overseas?
A: Seeing how other countries rely on our product makes me feel fortunate knowing we are investing money overseas. These countries are additional markets and customers, which sometimes is overlooked.