The Wisconsin Soybean Marketing Board (WSMB) is becoming more specialized. By specialized, WSMB is investing checkoff money into identity preserved soybeans as farmers look at ways to diversify farming operations.
That’s why WSMB was among several soybean states to sponsor the Identity Preserved International Summit, held January 11-13 in Honolulu, which brought in more than 150 people, including many U.S. suppliers and farmers of high-quality agricultural products, as well as buyers from 10 Asian countries.
“Honolulu, while exotic, was an ideal location to hold this conference,” said Shane Frederick, Manager of Strategic Programs for Specialty Soya and Grains Alliance (SSGA), which hosted the conference. “Hawaii serves as a mid-point for both our international customers as well as the U.S. companies that serve them.”
WSMB Chair Pat Mullooly, District 5, Clinton, Wis., attended the conference on behalf of the Marketing Board. He served as a farmer leader with other U.S. farmers on a panel and introduced another panel.
“As a farmer, it was great to get to know the international buyers,” Mullooly said. “It’s an exciting thing getting to see who we’re growing for. These are important relationships. This event helped build those bridges, solidify relationships we already have and build new ones, too. It was also a chance to network with other farmers.”
More than 50 foreign buyers participated in the first-of-its-kind conference, traveling from South Korea, Japan, Vietnam, Philippines, Thailand, Indonesia, Myanmar, Cambodia, Nepal and India for in-depth discussions and networking, along with presentations on supply and demand, shipping and transportation, crop conditions and availability and more.
“These are the best companies in the world who do this – on both sides of the ocean,” SSGA Executive Director Eric Wenberg said. “The Identity Preserved International Summit gave them a chance to have real dialogue about one of the fast-growing sectors of agriculture.”
Mullooly was encouraged by attendance at the event, with depth of the agenda and speakers, and with the professionalism of SSGA.
“Being on the marketing board, it’s good to meet the people we’re funding projects for, understand those projects and see that our dollars are being spent in a valuable way.”
The event was sponsored at the Summit level by five Qualified State Soybean Boards (QSSBs). Joining WSMB was the Michigan Soybean Committee, Minnesota Soybean Research & Promotion Council, Missouri Soybean Merchandising Council (through its Soyleic brand) and the North Dakota Soybean Council.