Seeing Soybean Checkoff Dollars At Work in Panama and Ecuador

Meghan Grebner, Brownfield Ag News,
in the Ecuador mountains.

Meghan Grebner (Brownfield Ag News, Fishers, IN) returned August 22 from travel with a group of young farmers to Panama and Ecuador to see their soybean checkoff dollars at work. The annual See For Yourself Tour is sponsored by the United Soybean Board. Participants represented a variety of agricultural regions, but shared at least one common bond – soybeans. To put this in perspective, Meghan said, “A recent study from Texas A&M showed that for every $1 that goes into the soybean checkoff, a farmer sees a $5.20 return on investment.”  

Passing through the Panama Canal

“Passing through the Panama Canal has been on my work ‘Bucket List’ for as long as I can remember, and I thought it would be the highlight of our trip,” Meghan said. “While the Canal was an amazing experience, my highlight came from having the opportunity to visit with the South American farmers and agribusinesses and learning about their uses for U.S. soybeans and soybean meal.” Javier Anhalzer, an Ecuadorian livestock farmer, told the group that American soybean meal comes at a premium, but, he chooses to pay the between $30 and $40 extra because the quality far exceeds the soybean meal he can get from other countries in South America. While U.S. soybean meal may not be as high in protein as the soybean meal Anhalzer can source from South America, it is higher in amino acids, which he says, is more important for livestock consumption. In addition to visiting several agribusinesses, the group also visited a shrimp farm in Ecuador. The aquaculture industry is a growing market for U.S. soybeans. The group visited with Chris Olsen of Lanec Corporation. He says their shrimp farm has successfully incorporated soybean meal into their feed rations. Olsen told the group he participated in several feed trials with soybean meal and fish meal, and the soybean meal performs equally as well and in some cases better than fish meal, making it a viable and sustainable food source.  

Meghan is actively engaged in her family’s farming operation and feels her background and experience as a farm broadcaster at Brownfield Ag News puts her in a unique position.  “On this trip, not only was I able to tell the story of a selection of young farmers from across the country seeing their checkoff dollars at work, I was also able to see firsthand how my checkoff dollars are working to create a continued demand for my family’s soybeans.” Meghan is still sorting through her audio and writing and posting stories.  To see her reports, click HERE.  

Meghan with the United Soybean Board Chairman Jim Call of
Minnesota (front row), USB Director Jacob Parker (back row, left)
and soybean producer, Darin LaBar from Union City, MI.