Wisconsin Pod to Plate Tour Brings Insight Into Soybeans October 17th, 2013

Date: October 17, 2013
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Linda Funk
Flavorful Insight, 515-491-8636

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Wisconsin Pod to Plate Tour Brings Insight Into Soybeans

Janesville, WI, October 17, 2013— Demands for knowing where food comes from are steadily increasing. Consumers want to know where and how their food is raised and processed. Recently chefs, dietitians and dietetic students received a firsthand understanding of the importance of the soybean and livestock value chain in Wisconsin. An all-day tour of Wisconsin farms and grain operations, as well as discussions with renowned soybean experts, gave these guests a rare opportunity to a fresh perspective on how soy is raised and the immense benefits of soy in a diet.

Andrea Erickson, registered dietitian with Hy-Vee in Madison says she found the tour to be an eye-opening experience and has a greater understanding what is involved in getting food from the farm to the table.

“The farmers were able to put it in relatable terms how and why they do what they do to protect the crop or the health of the animal,” says Erickson. “Anytime we can learn directly from local farmers and share this information it’s beneficial for us and for our customers.”

Attendees heard from speakers throughout the day. Dr. Shawn Conley, University of Wisconsin Soybean Extension Specialist, explained how Wisconsin farmer-led soybean sustainability initiative measures a farm’s performance. During lunch, Dr. Mark Messina, executive director for the Soy Nutrition Institute and president of Nutrition Matters, Inc., led a discussion on the latest health and nutrition research of soy protein.

Aside from learning about and discussing soy with experts, attendees had the opportunity to follow the life of a soybean and learn about other varieties of food sources. Beginning the day at Arndt Farms, guests were able to stand in a soybean field and learn how the farmers plant, raise and harvest soybeans. Attendees were able to see cattle on pasture and roaming within feedlot facility while learning about the process of raising beef.

Guests then stepped on to America’s largest pheasant farm, MacFarlane Pheasants Farm. Dietitians and chefs were able to tour the farm, learn about pheasants and the health benefits of this protein-rich meat as part of a healthy lifestyle. They were also able to taste the protein-packed bird. For lunch, pecan crusted MacFarlane Pheasant Breast, along with many soy inspired side dishes, tickled taste buds around the table. The tour finished at The DeLong Company which is an elevator, exporter and processor. Attendees were able to follow the soybean after harvest and were given a firsthand experience of how soybeans are treated beyond the field.

This tour gave foodservice professionals, dietitians and dietetic students a unique opportunity to see soybeans beyond the plate. All guests left with a better understanding of how soybeans are grown, utilized as feed for livestock and poultry, and as food for human consumption. A better understanding of where our food comes from makes for a happy and healthy meal.

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The Wisconsin Soybean Marketing Board (WSMB) is a grassroots, farmer-led organization that leads efforts in soybean research and the expansion of soybean market opportunities. Established in 1983 as part of a Wisconsin-mandated checkoff, the board works every day to maximize the profitability of Wisconsin’s 11,000 soybean growers. It builds soybean demand, creates new uses for soybeans, and focuses on soybean disease research. The Wisconsin Soybean Association (WSA) represents soybean farmer-members to positively impact regulatory and legislative issues on a local, state and national level. For more information, visit www.wisoybean.org