Cody Delmendo For the Daily Union
Shelbyville Daily Union
---- — 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.
“The lake is at an elevation of over 10,000 feet so the temperature stays very moderate year round. The temperature was 50 degrees on the day of our visit. I never thought I would be cold in July!” Rincker said.
A close second favorite was a quick trip to the Panama Canal.
“We had some travel delays and made it to the canal a day late and arrived in the evening. We missed our tour, but we were still able to view a few ships going through the canal. The size of the canal and the ships that pass through it is simply astounding. The canal is vital shipping lane for U.S farmers and was outstanding to see in person,” Rincker said.
Rincker said that Colombia was easily his favorite country to visit.
“Along our many stops it was always fun to talk to local farmers and industry representatives. They enjoyed talking to U.S farmers and putting a face to the product that they buy.
Colombians have a resounding acceptance for U.S Soy.
Rincker said that the experience definitely made him a better at what he does in agriculture production.
“It has helped me grow as a leader and allowed me to learn more about the United Soybean Board and how it administers Checkoff dollars. This was a once in a life time opportunity and I feel very fortunate to have been a part of the program,” Rincker said.