The USSEC Americas team hosted the “Full-Fat Soybean Meal Academy” in early June in Iowa. Nearly 30 poultry and swine producers, integrators, and feed manufacturers from Mexico, Colombia, Peru, and other countries in Latin America attended the event, which included on-site visits to the Bardole soybean farm, Iowa State University, and facilities of USSEC member, Insta-Pro International.

In addition to the Full-Fat Soybean Meal Academy increasing awareness about the nutritional and economic benefits of using U.S. Soy in full-fat soybean meal, it also served to underline the unwavering commitment of American soybean farmers and processors to continue feeding the world with high-quality soy, resulting from sound, innovative, and sustainable agricultural practices. Furthermore, visitors witnessed the important role agriculture plays in the lives of American farmers, whose farms mostly are passed from family generation to generation.

As part of the first on-site visit, the delegation met Tim Bardole, a sixth-generation farmer from Rippey, Iowa and Director at the United Soybean Board (USB). Thanks to this visit and enthusiastic chat with Tim and his father Roy Bardole (former USB Director and USSEC Chairman), visitors were able to see first-hand where it all begins—on the farm—and were impressed by the Bardole farming practices and overall operations.

“While the trade team was on my farm, we looked at the equipment we use and explained why we use the farming practices we do,” said Tim Bardole. “We also looked at soybean fields so they could see the progress and understand the challenges with late plantings. It is very beneficial for international customers to come and talk U.S. soybean producers. Putting a face to the soybeans our customers import only strengthens our relationship.”

Additionally, the delegation visited Iowa State University and Insta-Pro International facilities. The school’s feed mill facility management and faculty delivered presentations to a well engaged audience, eager to learn about sample quality evaluation methods, amino acid profiles, etc.

Later, participants met with USSEC member Insta-Pro International’s leadership and technical staff for a series of technical presentations and live demonstrations of processing of full-fat soybean meal for formulations in swine and poultry feed. Participants were impressed by Insta-Pro International’s innovative technology, live demonstrations, and potential for further growth of whole soybean exports to Latin America.

Among the participants was Carlos Borjes, Corporate Director of Granja Azul (“Blue Farm” in Spanish), a leading Guatemala-based egg and poultry producer that will soon be using the Sustainable U.S. Soy (SUSS) logo on some of its product packaging. Borjes is optimistic about the outcome of what he saw and learned at the Full-Fat Soybean Meal Academy in relation to his company’s expansion plans.

“The trip gave me a clear idea of the way in which farmers make soy a sustainable product which goes hand in hand with the sustainability plans that we carry out within the company,” said Borjes. “We are very aware of the opportunities we have to increase our consumption of soy and to be able to implement full-fat within our processes and diets. It was very important to have a close relationship with the people who manufacture this machinery, and it is now up to us to assess the cost benefit of incorporating this technology into our daily operations. If found beneficial, we will have it working for us in the short-medium term”.

The Full-Fat Soybean Meal Academy was another successful event coordinated by the USSEC Americas team to bring Latin American customers of U.S. Soy closer to U.S. Soy and industry partners, and ultimately drive larger demand for U.S. Soy. Organized and attended by USSEC team members Dr. Maria Mayorga, Belinda Pignotti, Santiago Lehman, and Gerardo Luna, the event was also a testament to the dedication of USSEC representatives worldwide.

“To have face to face meetings with our international customers whether it be on our farms here in the U.S. or traveling to visit them at their operations, these contacts are a great value to the U.S. producer as we build and maintain markets,” said Bardole.

Tim and Roy Bardole had a great time catching up with Belinda Pignotti and Gerardo Luna, on-the-ground U.S. Soy ambassadors with 26 and 15 years of experience, respectively, weaving relationships in Latin America on behalf of U.S. Soy farmers.

This article is partially funded by U.S. Soy farmers, their checkoff and the soy value chain.