Participants and Leaders Benefit from See for Yourself Program

The fifth-annual See for Yourself program provided 10 farmers from around the country with an opportunity to see first-hand some of the many ways soybeans are used. Sponsored by the national soy checkoff - the program gave farmers the chance to tour a number of sites related to the checkoff's objectives to improve the value of U.S. soy meal and oil; ensure the industry and its customers have the freedom and infrastructure to operate; and meet the needs of U.S. soy customers.

Kentucky soybean farmer Jonathan Miller says common sense told him that a board of volunteer farmers would be frugal with their own checkoff dollars - but he had no idea how much research is funded in part with checkoff funds. He says it was great to learn more about how funds are invested to maximize the benefit to soybean farmers.

On the first day of the United Soybean Board's 2012 See for Yourself tour - participants were in St. Louis. They heard about the work of each checkoff program area at USB's headquarters before touring a barge-loading facility on the Mississippi River. They also met with a soybean researcher to discuss research advancements in soybeans and visited Lambert-St. Louis International Airport - which uses biodiesel in much of its equipment.

Then in Mexico - participants got a glimpse of soy use in the U.S. soy industry's second-biggest international market. The group visited a company that imports more than 600-thousand tons of U.S. soybeans each year, toured two food-production companies that fortify their products with soy and toured two dairy farms that use U.S. soy meal in feed.

The USB Audit and Evaluation Committee sponsors the See for Yourself program. Committee Chair Rick Stern - a New Jersey soybean farmer - says the checkoff started the program to give soybean farmers the opportunity to evaluate specific checkoff-funded research and promotional activities - as well as interact with checkoff leadership. He says both sides benefit.

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