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 the 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 email@example.com. 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.
Kevin Anderson is a farmer in northern Minnesota, near East Grand Forks. He grows soybeans, wheat and sugar beets on his family farm.
Q: Where did you travel to for your See For Yourself (SFY) mission?
A: I traveled to China in 2013.
Q: What influenced you to sign up for SFY?
A: I was extremely interested in our soybean market abroad and knew this would be an opportunity to see it firsthand.
Q: What did you know about the soybean checkoff investment in the country before your SFY mission?
A: I knew very little about what we were doing, especially in China.
Q: What did you take away from your mission?
A: The biggest thing I didn’t realize was how fast China is growing and expanding. One out of every four people lives in China. This is a huge potential for us. If the governments can work together, China could be an extraordinary market for the United States, both in food grade and livestock use.
Q: What is one lasting memory that you will always remember from your mission?
A: One memory that stays with me is how big and fast Chinese cities are growing. The urbanized areas are growing and the small farmers and decreasing. It was interesting to hear how the cities have grown compared to years ago.
Q: Why should someone sign up for the SFY 2016 mission?
A: This is honestly such a good opportunity. I have been farming for many, many years but never knew exactly how soybeans were promoted and used abroad. As farmers, we see the checkoff dollars come out of our paycheck but the SFY mission allowed me to see exactly what the money is going toward.
Q: What value do you see in the Minnesota Soybean Research and Promotion Council investing money overseas?
A: It is so important to invest money into those markets. On our trip, one of the things we toured was a Chinese culinary chef’s restaurant. The chef has been working with the MSR&PC to open a chain of steakhouses in China with lower cuts of beefs, cheap enough for civilians to afford based on their standard of living.