Former Shelbyville resident Austin Rincker was one of 10 soybean farmer participants in the nation to be selected to go on the Soy Checkoff “See For Yourself” program.
University of Illinois graduate and now a resident of Moweaqua, Rincker was the only farmer selected out of the state of Illinois to take part in the program.
The program is a weeklong educational experience that helps soybean farmers learn more about their check off and industry.
Rincker along with nine other participants that were selected spent time in St. Louis, Mo., and in the countries of Colombia and Panama from July 18-26.
Some educational aspects that the participants learned were how their domestic and international customers beyond the elevator use soy meal and oil.
They saw their check off funds in action by visiting a number of sites that represent their biggest customers, including animal agriculture, which uses nearly 98 percent of U.S. soy meal, and the food industry, which uses two-thirds of U.S. soy oil.
Participants also visited sites that demonstrated the importance of farmers’ freedom to operate.
Rincker said that he was extremely humbled to take part in the program and felt he was a “part of an amazing group of farmers across the United States.”
In regards to what he learned, he said it gave him the opportunity to gain a firsthand view of check off programs.
“The United Soybean Board allocates check off dollars to the areas of production technology, finding new uses for soy, and marketing. For every dollar the check off invests in research approximately six dollars is returned to the farmer. What we saw was just the tip of ice berg in the scope of programs that the check off is involved with to increase the value of U.S soy.” Rincker said.
Rincker said one of his favorite parts of the trip was touring a trout farm and processing facility on Lake Tota, Colombia.