ASA/WISHH leveraged North Dakota Soybean Council and USDA Agricultural Trade Promotion program funding to bring 11 soyfoods participants from Cambodia and Myanmar (Burma) to the Northern Crops Institute in North Dakota and then to Minnesota for the Specialty Soya and Grains Alliance’s first Fork to Farm Day on June 10. The June 6-11 trade team was the first large international delegation to arrive at NCI since the pandemic began. They traveled more than 7,000 miles to gain new insights into tofu and soymilk production and the many functional and economic benefits of using U.S. food grade soybeans through NCI’s updated training program, industry visits, and SSGA networking and educational events.
“U.S. soybean growers welcome these valued customers who have continued to work with WISHH and NCI in virtual training sessions during the pandemic,” said Adam Redmann, a North Dakota soybean grower who serves a director of the North Dakota Soybean Council as well as on the WISHH Program Committee. “It is great to host face-to-face trainings again and show them the benefits of using quality U.S. food grade soybeans.”
The Specialty Soya and Grains Alliance invited soyfoods company leaders from Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines and Vietnam to the educational activities too. These foreign buyers are also eager to train and network with identity preserved grain and oilseed industry representatives. Following the NCI course, SSGA took the trade team to the Oliver Kelley Farm in Elk River, Minn. to join the first SSGA Fork to Farm Day.
“As countries continue to open up, it is imperative to start redeveloping those bonds with our trading partners,” said Minnesota Soybean Research & Promotion Council Director Patrick O’Leary. “Management has changed, the industry has changed and by having buyers come to the NCI short course and attend the Fork to Farm event, we are able to rekindle those relationships.”
ASA/WISHH, SSGA and NCI all receive general support from the MSRP&C, NDSC and South Dakota Soybean Council. NDSC also provided specific funding for SSGA and WISHH for this trade team.