Indiana soybean checkoff program celebrates Soybean Oil Masters graduates - Indiana Corn and Soy

Indiana soybean checkoff program celebrates Soybean Oil Masters graduates

Posted: May 30, 2024
Category: ISA, News, Press Releases

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (May 30, 2024) — The Soybean Oil Masters program, an effort led by the Indiana Soybean Alliance (ISA) and the U.S. Soy Export Council (USSEC), offers reasons to international soybean industry stakeholders why U.S.-grown soybeans should be preferred.

This program educates and fosters connections internationally within the agricultural, trade and culinary sectors. The mission is to provide global end users, crushers and influential groups in the food industry with a comprehensive understanding of U.S. soybean oil and, ultimately, to increase demand. The program covers various aspects including nutritional benefits, practical applications, production processes and the sustainability of U.S. soybean production.

More than 100 graduates of that program wrapped up a big week in the Hoosier State recently with tours of Indiana farms, agribusinesses, Purdue University, and finally, watching the greatest spectacle in racing – the Indianapolis 500-mile race.

“We want to congratulate each and every one of you – the third class of graduates from the Soybean Oil Masters program,” said ISA Chair Kevin Cox, a farmer from Clay County, Ind. “You have joined an elite group of only 1,000 graduates from around the world. We have 110 attendees graduating from the program representing the entire soy value chain – from crushers and refiners to importers and restaurants. We find this investment incredibly valuable – both for growing your market capacity and knowledge base, and for creating more opportunities for Indiana and U.S. farmers to have their products used in more markets.”

Indiana is the leading producer in the world of high oleic soybeans. To showcase that product, the Soy Oil Masters program participants enjoyed food cooked in high oleic soybean oil at the Indianapolis 500, at a lunch at Victory Field and during a tour of Gainbridge Fieldhouse, the home of the NBA’s Indiana Pacers. “High oleic soybean oil is a healthy and nutritious alternative to traditional vegetable oils,” Cox said. “I couldn’t be prouder as an Indiana farmer to promote this success story and to show the state’s soybean farmers the value their checkoff brings.”

This year the Soybean Oil Masters participants came from Colombia, El Salvador, Guatemala and Mexico in the Americas; China, Japan and Korea in North Asia; India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore and Vietnam in Southeast Asia. Their tour through Indiana included stops at Beck’s Hybrids, Corteva Agriscience, Pence Group and Bunge; the research sites at Purdue University; and tours at the farms of David Howell, Middletown, Ind.; Kevin Kelley, Brookston, Ind.; Adam Sheller, Noblesville, Ind.; Tyler Everett, Lebanon, Ind.; Jenna Scott, Gaston, Ind.; Scott Smith, Windfall, Ind.; Dylan Christopher, Monticello, Ind.; and Chris Eck, Boggstown, Ind.

“I decided to host a tour because I’ll learn as much from the tour group as they’ll learn from me,” said Kevin Kelley, who is an ISA board director. “Many of the people visiting our farm today have never seen an American farm. They may not fully understand the process and care that goes into producing our soybean crop. Their questions centered around crop rotations, crop health and our soil’s health. My hope is that our visitors learned several reasons why they should prefer the safety, sustainability and reliability of U.S.-grown soybeans over those of our competitors in other countries.”

The program targets participants from across the soybean oil value chain, including importers, crushers, refiners, consumer goods companies, the hospitality and institutional sectors, cooks and nutritionists. The participants may understand their part of the value chain but lack a detailed understanding for the rest of it.

“We hope you leave here with a better idea of where your soybeans and soybean oil come from and how they’re grown,” Cox told program graduates at a ceremony on May 25. “We want you to know that trusted partnerships between U.S. farmers and suppliers, and you and your countries benefit all of us. I can say from experience that you will value the relationships and connections you’ve made here for your entire career. We hope you will use this knowledge and information from the program to help you in the coming years.”

Indiana’s soybean growers already do an excellent job of producing a crop. According to the USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service, Hoosier farmers intend to plant more than 5.6 million acres of soybeans this year. Indiana produced more than 335 billion bushels of soybeans worth an estimated $4.4 billion last growing season. Indiana is the fourth-largest soybean-producing state in America. To find buyers for all those soybeans requires building relationships around the globe.

“International soybean buyers have an idea of how we raise crops in the U.S.,” said tour host Tyler Everett. “I hope this visit to our farm helps complete that image of U.S. soybean farming and how we sustainably produce a quality crop.

Tour host Adam Sheller agreed. “I hope the trade teams walk away with an understanding of the investment and management it takes to grow a non-GMO crop,” he said.

Indiana’s soybean checkoff’s mission is to increase the crop’s value by finding new customers. ISA’s strategy to accomplish this goal is comprehensive and requires partners such as USSEC.

The Indiana Soybean Oil Masters program started in Korea six years ago. More than 350 soybean oil industry representatives have graduated from the program in Korea. USSEC and ISA use the program to encourage trade, and Korea is the No. 1 importer of U.S. soybean oil. Korea is also an early adopter of high oleic soybean oil.

USSEC’s mission is to maximize the utilization, value and access to markets of U.S. Soy around the world. USSEC receives soybean farmer checkoff dollars from USB and several state soybean checkoff organizations, including ISA.

USSEC tries to fulfill its mission of creating a preference for U.S. Soy by nurturing relationships, growing awareness and demonstrating value to global customers. With offices in more than 80 countries, USSEC helps customers with diverse backgrounds and experiences to reach their full potential by using U.S. Soy products.

The purpose of these tours was to highlight the care of soybean production in Indiana and to give international soybean stakeholders an opportunity to ask questions of farmers.

“Our hope is that these soybean industry stakeholders will return home knowing that the United States is a consistent, reliable supplier that is innovating to help meet their demand needs for the future,” said Will McNair, USSEC Director of Oil and Soy Food Programs. “The participants included vice presidents, business owners and key R&D or purchasing personnel. Indiana is a crucial state for soybean production, exports and innovation. Being able to visit these sites in Indiana really helps to send the message to the international buyers of innovation, production and supply reliability.”

Click here for details about U.S. Soy export efforts and visit here for news about the national soybean checkoff.

Contact: Dave Blower Jr. at 317-644-0980; dblower@indianasoybean.com

About Indiana Soybean Alliance: The Indiana Soybean Alliance works to enhance the viability of Indiana soybean farmers through the effective and efficient investment of soybean checkoff funds that protect and promote the interest of Indiana soybean farmers. The ISA works to assist soybean farmers through its strategic initiatives of market development; environmental, social and economic sustainability; value creation and producer engagement. ISA is led by an elected, farmer board that directs investments of the soybean checkoff funds on behalf of more than 20,000 Indiana soybean farmers.

About U.S. Soy Export Council: USSEC focuses on differentiating, building preference and enabling market access for the use of U.S. Soy for human consumption, aquaculture and livestock feed in 80-plus countries internationally. USSEC members represent the soy supply chair including U.S. Soy farmers, processors, commodity shippers, merchandisers, allied agribusinesses and agricultural organizations. USSEC is funded by the U.S. soybean checkoff, USDA Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS) matching funds and industry.

This communication was funded with Indiana corn and soybean checkoff dollars.

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