Trade Group Mission | How Soy Impacts the World

This August, a group of food and feed leaders from three continents: Asia, Central America, and sub-Saharan Africa, arrived in South Dakota to gain insight on soy protein. Throughout their time in the Midwest, the trade team members visited Minnesota, North Dakota, and South Dakota to learn and explore new ideas for soy-based foods, soy as a supplement to fortify foods, soy as animal nutrition, and to receive an overview of soy production in the United States. 

This course benefits entrepreneurs, marketers, and anyone in the food industry who plans to develop new soy-based products for their business in their home country. Throughout the course of the Northern Crops Institute-led INTSOY trade team, visiting leaders toured soy production facilities, participated in hands-on processing of soy foods and feeds, and visited with soybean grower leadership to learn more about the soy industry in the United States to build long-term partnerships.

“They’re finding out the benefits of why they should utilize U.S. soy versus other origins. Some of those benefits are amino acids, our sustainability, that U.S soy is a reliable source, and we’re a good source for information.” – Dawn Scheier

When speaking with Robert Thaler, Interim Department Head for Animal Science, Distinguished Professor & SDSU Extension Swine Specialist, about the importance of speaking to this group about the South Dakota pork industry he said,

 “I think probably the most important thing to realize as you look at an animal’s requirement for protein, is that for decades, soybean meal has been the gold standard of what we gauge everything else against.” – Robert Thaler

Dawn Scheier, a 4th generation soybean and corn farmer added more information on why it is important for South Dakota commodity producers to be a part of the trade mission. She said, 

 “For this group to hear, they are in developing countries, so they know what a soybean is, some of them are using it and everything, but it’s important to show other ways to bring protein into these developing countries if that can be through food, aquaculture or livestock.” 

The beneficial nutrients found in soy are especially important to one of the food leaders present on the trade mission, Seth Offei. He works for the Ghana School Feeding Programme (GSFP), an initiative of the Comprehensive Africa Agricultural Development Program (CAADP) Pillar 3, which seeks to enhance food security and reduce hunger in line with the UN Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) on hunger, poverty, and malnutrition. He explained how exciting it was to learn more about the nutrients, protein, and amino acids found in soy that could be used in the diets of those in his country. 

Spending time with other leaders from around the world, eager to learn more about soy processes and technology that are available in the United States, is equally rewarding as it is eye-opening. One of the biggest responsibilities of many South Dakota farmers is to provide not only for their families and the agriculture industry in the United States but also to teach other countries around the world about the benefits of soy. 

“…We’re blessed to be here in the United States. I have traveled enough internationally and worked with people all over to understand it’s not this way everywhere. And we truly have a responsibility to feed 9 billion people…and what we do here, can really help people do it.” – Robert Thaler

To learn more about the impact that soy is making around the world, read Soy for Food Fuel in Third-World Countries, Creating New Markets Around the World with Mike McCranie, or Reminiscing on Travel with Jerry Schmitz by Hungry for Truth. These partnerships are made possible with the South Dakota Soybean Farmers and their Checkoff.