The United Soybean Board invites U.S. soybean farmers to participate in its 2011 "See for Yourself" program. The program represents one way USB evaluates the effectiveness of its soybean checkoff programs.
New Jersey soybean farmer Rick Stern serves as chair of USB's Audit and Evaluation program. He says See for Yourself gives U.S. soybean farmers a chance to see their checkoff investments in action.
"The See for Yourself process really gives an opportunity for the USB farmer leaders to see what we're doing; if it's effective or not," Stern said. "The second step is having participants who are really not familiar with USB and the checkoff to see what it does and how it does buisness domestically and internationally."
Each summer USB shows 10 farmer-participants specific examples of soybean checkoff programs at work. They'll visit project sites here in the United States and abroad to check to see if each program helps build demand for U.S. soy.
USB invites any U.S. soybean farmer interested in learning about checkoff programs to see for themselves by submitting an application now to participate. This year's See for Yourself program runs July 25 through July 30. Farmers can visit the USB Web site at unitedsoybean.org to fill out and submit an application by April 1.
"We'll tour several facilities in St. Louis, one being the St. Louis Lambert Airport that uses biodiesel," Stern said. "The second is a facility in St. Louis that uses soy ink. From there the trip will travel to Guadalajara, Mexico and visit with one of our largest soybean users in Mexico."
Stern says U.S. soybean farmers get to see examples of their checkoff investment at work in a variety of areas including animal agriculture, international sales, new uses and production research. What's more, Stern says the program develops future leaders for the U.S. soybean industry
"That's one of the key aspects of the See for Yourself tour for participants," Stern said. "They get involved and see where their checkoff dollars are going but they also get more involved in what the soybean industry is doing, and hopefully build future leaders of tomorrow."
But Stern says the impact doesn't stop with those who participate in the See for Yourself program. He says the excitement generated during the tour leads farmers to share what they've learned with friends, neighbors and others in their communities.