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Farmer Leaders Travel to Rome

By Karen Coble Edwards

Robert Alpers, Missouri Soybean Board Member and Farmer, travelled with American Soybean Association (ASA) and World Initiative for Soy in Human Health (WISHH) to Rome.

Missouri Soybean Board Member Robert Alpers presented the power of U.S. Soy protein for both human foods and animal feeds during May 15-16 meetings organized by the American Soybean Association’s World Initiative for Soy in Human Health. Alpers, a United Soybean Board director, and four other U.S. soybean farmer leaders shared U.S. Soy’s quality and sustainability with three of the Rome-based food agencies, the U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Agencies for Food and Agriculture, and USDA Foreign Agricultural Service staff.

The meetings helped ensure that developing countries look to soy to meet their protein needs first and then as they develop, they choose soy to feed their livestock or for more nutritious human foods.

The Rome-based United Nations food organizations (Food and Agriculture Organization, World Food Programme and International Fund for Agricultural Development) lead programs that either currently use U.S. soy or invest in developing economies where ASA/WISHH also works to develop new markets. USB supported WISHH’s organization of the meetings.

For example, the WFP and WISHH have partnered on demonstrating the value of fish in healthy school meals in Cambodia where WISHH is helping build demand for soy-based fish feeds. WFP also uses U.S. Soy in nutritious foods, such as corn-soy-blend and Ready to Use Therapeutic Foods. Global donors fund WFP’s procurement of these products. A United Soybean Board soy checkoff investment is allowing WISHH to work on a new product formulation that contains the highest level of soy that leading manufacturer, Edesia, alone has ever used. Edesia has tripled its use of U.S. soy flour since 2021 at its Rhode Island manufacturing facility that operates 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Currently, Edesia uses more than 20 million pounds of soy flour each year, which is the soy protein equivalent of more than 512,000 bushels of soybeans from U.S. farmers. It also uses high oleic soybean oil in its nutrition-packed foods that are distributed to more than 60 countries worldwide.

Due to the global food security challenges around the world, Edesia plans to buy even more U.S. soy flour than ever so WFP and others can use it in their responses. The FAO reports that 735 million people currently face hunger across the globe. That’s more than twice the entire population of the United States.

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