The United Soybean Board invites U.S. soybean farmers to apply for its See for Yourself Program. It allows 10 U.S. soybean farmers to see the Soy Checkoff at work both here in the United States and around the world. USB Audit and Evaluation Chair Rick Stern says the See for Yourself Program provides an opportunity for U.S. soybean farmers to see where their soybeans go, beyond the elevator.
"The See for Yourself Program was initiated by the Audit and Evaluation Committee of the Soybean Checkoff where we realized that a lot of farmers didn't understand where their checkoff dollars were going," Stern said. "They just saw them off their check when they got a check from their local elevator and they really didn't have any idea where their money was being spent or what it was being spent for. So the Soybean Checkoff put this program together to really explain domestically and internationally what the checkoff program does."
USB's See for Yourself Program allows U.S. soybean farmers to help evaluate the Soy Checkoff. Stern believes the program achieves two different results. He says the first allows farmers to see where their Soy Checkoff dollars are being spent. The second - he says - helps build Soy Checkoff leadership for tomorrow.
"We are always looking for new checkoff leaders and for new leadership in agriculture and that really makes our industry stronger," Strern said. "So by doing this you are building camaraderie with farmers around the country that you might not get to meet before. You see how these 10 farmers over five days begin to gel and mold and really talk to each other and learn things about each other and their farming practices they would never get a chance to learn about."
As part of the Audit and Evaluation program, Stern has participated in See for Yourself twice, once on the U.S. leg and the other abroad visiting farms, processors, food and feed manufacturers in Mexico.
"You see how we transport beans to Mexico," Stern said. "You see how the U.S. soybean farmers beans are used in Mexico and how they are used in feed rations. You also get to see how they are used in the poultry, pork and aquaculture farming in Mexico."
U.S. soybean farmers selected to participate in the See for Yourself program will get to see the Soy Checkoff in action over five days. Stern says the trip starts in St. Louis at the headquarters of the United Soybean Board.
This year's Soy Checkoff See for Yourself Program takes place from Aug. 5 through Aug. 11. Soybean farmers interested in participating can apply now on the internet at www.unitedsoybean.org. The deadline to sign up is Friday, March 30.