Soybean farmers 'See for Yourself' where checkoff dollars go

Soybean farmers 'See for Yourself' where checkoff dollars go

Ten soybean farmers from all regions of U.S. join four USB members to learn more about checkoff investments in China and Vietnam

From July 30 to August 8, a group of 10 soybean farmers from around the country joined members of the United Soybean Board for the annual "See for Yourself" trade mission to learn first-hand how soybean checkoff dollars are spent.

This year's tour went to St. Louis, China and Vietnam where they met with trade representatives and brokers, toured two aquaculture operations and visited shipping ports and feed mills.

You can find coverage about what they did and saw in the October Kansas Farmer print edition. Online story references too.

This photo album provides you an additional look at some of the places tje See For Yourself Soybean group in China and Vietnam.

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LOADING: Ships are loaded to move grain from the Mai Cep Port in Vietnam.

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Soybean farmers 'See for Yourself' where checkoff dollars go

ARRIVAL: One of the first sights the groups saw on the ground was the skyline of "new"  Shanghai across the river from the hotel. The airport where the group landed was Pudong International, part of all the construction in "new" Shanghai since 1996. Just 20 years ago, area was all in farms, mostly  rice paddies. Today, it is home to 12 million people and a wide range of businesses.

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Soybean farmers 'See for Yourself' where checkoff dollars go

FAMILIAR WORDS: One of the surprising things about business signs in Shanghai was how many of them are in English, such as this "Pizza" amidst the Chinese letters.

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Soybean farmers 'See for Yourself' where checkoff dollars go

BARGE GOES BY: The Huaongpu River, which divides the old city from the new, is busy with boat and barge traffic. The area is a tourist draw and while dozens of tour boats line up to take on passengers, there are also lines of barges transporting freight to and from a container port offshore.

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Soybean farmers 'See for Yourself' where checkoff dollars go

INTENSIVE POND AQUACULTURE: Jim Zhang, Program Manager for Agriculture with the United States Soybean Export Council, explains how the pumping system at an Intensive Pond Aquaculture farm in China. The pumping system circulates water through "raceways" where fish swim against the current, much like a river. They are fed with pellets that are more than 60% soy, developed by the United Soybean Board specifically for aquaculture.

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Soybean farmers 'See for Yourself' where checkoff dollars go

FEEDING TIME: Fish are fed four times daily during daylight hours at the Songjiang Lutang Farm near Shanghai. Fish are sorted by size in "raceways" where currents mimic those of rivers..

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Soybean farmers 'See for Yourself' where checkoff dollars go

GETTING TO KNOW YOU: Jim Zhang, USSEC's program manager for aquaculture in Shanghai, and April Hemmes, See For Yourself tour participant from Hampton, Iowa, were happy to meet face-to-face. And April was delighted to see the Songjiang Lutang Farm, a venture in which the Iowa Soybean Association was an initial investor.

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Soybean farmers 'See for Yourself' where checkoff dollars go

TRAFFIC CONGESTION: It was hard for most of the See For Yourself tour members to get a grasp of the massive traffic congestion of Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, where small motorcycles, scooters, bicycles and tour buses all share the streets and the main traffic rule is "Don't Hit Anything."

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Soybean farmers 'See for Yourself' where checkoff dollars go

BAGGED FEED: U.S. producers are accustomed to seeing large amounts of animal feed sold and transported in bulk. In both China and Vietnam, feed is sold by the bag and is largely not available in bulk.

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Soybean farmers 'See for Yourself' where checkoff dollars go

WET MARKET: In Vietnam, the primary source of food is the wet market, where vendors sell from booths much like a giant farmers market. Both live fish and fish on ice as well as fruits, vegetables and cages of poultry can be found at the wet market. Many also have booths that sell linens and textiles as well as clothing, dishes, household supplies and other items.

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Soybean farmers 'See for Yourself' where checkoff dollars go

MORE CHAOS: This photo offers another look at the competition for space on the streets of Ho Chi Minh City. Incredibly accidents are neither frequent nor severe. The sound of horns is continuous and street-level pollution from exhaust fumes means many motorcycle drivers wear face masks.

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Soybean farmers 'See for Yourself' where checkoff dollars go

READY TO TOUR: Members of The See For Yourself Group each donned a traditional Vietnamese hat in preparation for a tour of the Vinh Hoan Corp. fish processing plant and caged fish farming operation in Vietnam.

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Soybean farmers 'See for Yourself' where checkoff dollars go

DOWN THE RIVER: Members of the See For Yourself group headed down the Mekong River to a caged fish farming operation of the Vinh Hoan Corp. by motorboat. The fish farm supplies a processing plant that exports about 200,000 pounds of frozen fish fillets annually.



 

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