Celebrating the Soybean Oil Masters Program in Seoul - Indiana Corn and Soy

Celebrating the Soybean Oil Masters Program in Seoul

Posted: June 27, 2024
Category: ISA, Market Development, News, Sustainability

By Anita Sharkey

From June 19-24, several board members of the Indiana Soybean Alliance (ISA) visited Seoul, South Korea, to participate in the US Soybean Sustainability Conference and Soybean Oil Masters Program Graduation ceremony. This event, sponsored by ISA and led by the U.S. Soybean Export Council (USSEC), marks a significant milestone in promoting U.S.-grown soybeans and their derivatives on a global scale.

The Soybean Oil Masters Program is an initiative designed to educate international stakeholders about the advantages of U.S.-grown soybeans. It targets key players in the agricultural, trade, and culinary sectors, including importers, crushers, refiners, consumer goods companies, and nutritionists. The program’s mission is to increase the demand for U.S. soybean oil by highlighting its nutritional benefits, practical applications, production processes, and sustainability.

Indiana plays a pivotal role in this program. As the leading producer of high oleic soybeans, Indiana is at the forefront of innovations in soybean farming and high oleic soybean oil production. This oil, known for its improved fat profile and heart health benefits, is a testament to our farmers’ commitment to growing a sustainable product that is in-demand by customers here and overseas.

The highlight of the trip to Seoul was the graduation ceremony that took place on June 21st, participants received their certificates. These graduates join an elite group of 1,000 individuals who have completed the program worldwide. The program’s global reach includes participants from North and South America, Asia, and Southeast Asia, demonstrating its broad impact on the international soybean oil market.

Indiana farmer leaders attending the event included Carey McKibben from LaGrange, Ind., and Derika Lynam-Spaetti from Richland, Ind. David and Mary Howell, seasoned supporters for foreign trade and sustainable farming practices from Middletown, Ind., were also present. The Howells have hosted over 1,000 international visitors on their farm, providing invaluable insights into U.S. soybean production.

“The Soybean Oil Masters Program is a comprehensive course about the process of soybean oil from farm to market,” Carey McKibben said. “It starts with the way U.S. farmers sustainably grow soybeans, then how they make their way through the supply chain, then crushing of the beans with the latest technology, to why U.S. soybean oil is superior, especially high oleic soybean oil.”

A Week of Learning and Exchange

Prior to the ceremony in Seoul, last year’s Soybean Oil Masters Program participants had a chance to visit Indiana in May. Over 100 participants toured Indiana farms, agribusinesses, and Purdue University. These tours provided international stakeholders with an understanding of the care and innovation involved in Indiana’s soybean production.

The benefits of high oleic soybean oil were also showcased throughout the participants’ visit. This versatile oil, which extends product shelf life and offers a longer fry life than other edible oils, was featured in meals at the Indy 500, Victory Field, and Gainbridge Fieldhouse. Local institutions like Purdue University and Indiana University also use high oleic soybean oil in their dining services and sports concessions, highlighting its growing popularity.

The Impact on Indiana Farmers

From January through April of this year, 67,000 metric tons of U.S. food-grade soybeans worth $57 million were exported to Korea and in 2023, it was the 10th largest importer of US soybeans. Through the Soybean Oil Master’s program, USSEC and ISA are working together to increase demand and open new markets for the high oleic soybean oil.

ISA Senior Director of Market Development Ed Ebert attended the event and said, “buyers from across South Korea learned about specific production practices that make US Soy the worldwide leader in sustainably produced soy proteins.”

During the program, Indiana farmers had the opportunity to visit a Korean feed mill, tofu manufacturer, and aqua feed protein supplier.

“These same farmers then had the opportunity to present certificates of completion to the USSEC Soy Oil Masters graduates in a ceremony,” Ebert continued. “This caps a yearlong training program that emphasizes the quality and benefits of U.S. Soybean oil, management of that oil, and introduces students to the benefits of high oleic soybean oil, sustainably produced by U.S. farmers.”

By fostering international connections and demonstrating the quality and reliability of U.S. soybeans, the program helps build long-term partnerships that benefit both farmers and global consumers.






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