With the goal of enabling access to high quality protein in the region, employees and employers now have new opportunities and resources to improve their professional capacity and business understanding, in turn helping to grow their business and community through knowledge.

The U.S. Soybean Export Council (USSEC) opened its “doors” June 3 to the Soy Excellence Center of the Americas, a place where the exchange of ideas, science and on-the-job expertise helps build professionals and supports growth in the food and agricultural sectors.

“Thanks to USSEC and the educational opportunities that they provided, we have leveraged the sustainability of U.S. Soy to differentiate our product in the market,” said Andrea Robles Montes of INOLASA, a soyfood company based in Costa Rica. “It’s these educational opportunities that have allowed INOLASA and the people behind it to fulfill our dreams and reach our goals.

“We are thrilled with the launch of the Soy Excellence Center of the Americas and look forward to the additional opportunities it can bring for the growth of the food and agricultural sector in our community, in our country and for the region.”

A number of other customers and partners from companies such as Solla S.A., BIOMAR, ALTOSANO, and AGROTEL joined the inaugural ceremony to share why this effort is so important and further educational opportunities are needed for employees.

It’s these very customers and many others that USSEC leaders have in mind when it comes to identifying unmet needs.

“Specialized training in topics unique to our collective industries is hard to find, and we believe the Soy Excellence Center, as we partner with key universities, will fill a unique and niche role,” said Jim Sutter, USSEC’s chief executive officer. “We believe this is essential to the continued growth, modernization and success of the companies in the Americas region.

“It’s been our goal to increase production and availability of animal protein through the livestock and aquaculture industries in the region. Never before has this goal been more critical as the global population increases, as well as the population of the region.”

The Soy Excellence Center comes to life through a consortium of universities, led by Kansas State University working in coordination with Auburn University and Zamorano University in Honduras. This consortium features best-in-class technical instructors who are recognized in their respective fields not only in the region but around the world.

“The Center will help develop and expand the educational partnerships between U.S. and regional universities to promote more opportunities for higher education and advanced technology use in the region,” said Rachel Nelson of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Foreign Agricultural Service. “Central America is an important market for U.S. soybeans and U.S. agriculture in general, and it’s a key strategic partner overall.

“We believe the partnerships created will help stimulate economic growth and play an important role in providing high-quality grains and soybeans to the growing livestock sector in the region.”

Nelson, who serves as the Regional Agricultural Counselor for Guatemala, El Salvador, Belize and Honduras, added that continuing education is key to maintaining efficiency and competitiveness.

She said, “this efficiency will help livestock, aquaculture and poultry sectors in the region provide the animal protein needed to meet the nutritional demands of the population” — a statement that’s core to the vision of the Soy Excellence Center.

That vision: to improve the health and nutrition of local communities in budding markets by building capacity and market potential of businesses in the food and agricultural supply chain through professional development training and course curriculum.

The Soy Excellence Center of the Americas is one of four Soy Excellence Centers (located in Egypt, Nigeria, and Thailand) developed by USSEC and funded in part by the soy checkoff. Program offerings will be made available in the near future. Individuals interested in learning more about these opportunities are encouraged to sign up to receive more information at SECAmericas.com.

For more information about the Soy Excellence Center of the Americas, please contact center lead Carlos Campabadal of Kansas State University at SECAmericas.com.

About USSEC – The U.S. Soybean Export Council connects U.S. soybean farmers with opportunities to improve human nutrition, livestock production and aquaculture. This mission is accomplished with a science-based technical foundation and a global network of partnerships including soybean farmers, exporters, agribusiness and agricultural organizations, researchers and government agencies. USSEC operates internationally and works with aquaculture programs in different nations to help ensure sustainability and profitability for industry producers. USSEC programs are partially funded by the United Soybean Board (USB). Learn more at www.ussec.org.