Illinois Soybean Association Soy Ambassadors were in Guatemala and Nicaragua recently as part of a mission to learn more about the use of U.S. soybeans in human diets and in combating malnutrition in both countries.
The trip was part of the World Initiative for Soy in Human Health project coordinated by the University of Illinois National Soybean Research Laboratory.
The group attended a soymilk seminar, where they learned about how soymilk helps meet nutrition needs. They also visited several processing plants where they learned the versatility of soy being incorporated into a variety of native foods.
Soy Ambassadors held briefings with U.S. Department of Agriculture representatives in both countries and also learned about humanitarian projects funded through the Illinois soybean checkoff. Illinois soybean farmers help fund soy nutrition programs at the Fundas Ninas and Fabretto children's homes.
"I didn't realize how much soy plays a critical role in meeting protein needs of kids in developing countries, especially in Central America," says Kate Longley, Soy Ambassador from Aledo.
Soy Ambassador Matthew DeSutter, Woodhull, had a similar impression. "The takeaway for me is the overwhelming need for soy in the daily diets of people in Central America," he says.
The Soy Ambassadors were joined on the trip by Paul Rasmussen, soybean farmer from Genoa, and ISA director, and David Headley, ISA Soy Ambassador program coordinator.
The Soy Ambassadors program, which is funded by the Illinois soybean checkoff, is a two-year program made up of a select group of soybean farmers chosen to develop qualities that can be channeled toward future leadership roles. The current class of Soy Ambassadors includes Cassandra DeJaynes, LaHarpe; Matthew DeSutter, Woodhull; Frank Legner, Odell; Kate Longley, Aledo; Jeff Lynn, Oakford; Jenny Mennenga, LeRoy; Austin Rincker, Moweaqua.
ISA represents more than 45,000 soybean farmers in Illinois through the state soybean checkoff and membership efforts. The checkoff funds market development, soybean production and profitability research, promotion, issues management and analysis, communications and education. Membership and advocacy efforts support Illinois soybean farmer interests in local areas, Springfield and Washington, D.C. ISA programs are designed to ensure Illinois soy is the highest quality, most dependable, sustainable and competitive in the global marketplace. For more information, visit the website www.ilsoy.org.
Source: Illinois Soybean Association