International Leadership Experience for Soybean Farmers Adjusted to Eight-Week Program

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Shortened program aims to aid recruitment and accommodate busy farm schedules

Most would agree that farming requires flexibility. Farmer may have to adjust to weather conditions, soil fertility, pest pressures or countless other factors. The same holds true for a new program that has been introduced by the United Soybean Board (USB) to support leadership development. The opportunity, presented by the IFYE Association through funding from USB recognizes the value an international experience can have on young leaders.

In late October, state soybean checkoff organizations were contacted about a new international leadership opportunity for soybean farmers and family members who participate in the soybean check off program. The initial announcement focused on a three-month program living in another country. Based on feedback from young soybean professionals, that has now been adjusted to eight weeks, to reduce time away from operations and better meet the needs of applicants. Research shows that in-depth international experience can have a profound influence on future leadership success.

“IFYE has added flexibility to the program timeline as outlined in the original proposal for this experience. It is much more than a visit,” said Dan Farney, USB Chair and Illinois Farmer. “The opportunity for participants to live and participate with residents, and interact with leaders and officials of another country, enhances leadership skills that last a lifetime.”

Eight individuals will be selected for this opportunity. Candidates interested in this soybean-focused leadership opportunity need to apply by completing and submitting the IFYE application. The application process and interviews will soon be concluding followed by final selections confirmed by USB. Once final selections are confirmed a teleconference orientation will begin that is slated to start in early March. Plans are for participants to depart for their host countries in June. The program will conclude after eight weeks, and will include a debriefing with the USDA Foreign Agriculture Service in Washington, D.C.  More information about the program is available on the IFYE website at ifyeusa.org under exchange programs.

USB is partnering with IFYE, formerly known as the International Farm Youth Exchange. This 72-year-old international exchange organization offers a customized international leadership experience for soybean industry young adults age 19 and above. The young leaders selected for this USB program will live with two to three host families, spend time at the U.S. Embassy for a first-hand trade relations experience with USDA Foreign Agriculture Service staff, meet with in-country government agriculture officials, agriculture leaders, and may include experiences at in-country soybean processing facilities.

About IFYE Association of the USA

Founded in 1948, the IFYE Association of the USA, Inc. provides cultural exchange programming that places participants with multiple host families during a two- three- or six-month period in countries around the world. The U.S. IFYE representatives experience once-in-a-lifetime opportunities to gain understanding of the culture and lifestyle from those they live with while in the program. IFYE exchanges are conducted in collaboration with international, U.S., state and local coordinators and are facilitated and supported by the IFYE Association of the USA, Inc. The IFYE motto of “Peace through Understanding” continues to touch the lives of people around the world. To learn more visit ifyeusa.org.

About United Soybean Board

United Soybean Board’s 78 volunteer farmer-directors work on behalf of all U.S. soybean farmers to achieve maximum value for their soy checkoff investments. These volunteers invest and leverage checkoff funds in programs and partnerships to drive soybean innovation beyond the bushel and increase preference for U.S. soy. That preference is based on U.S. soybean meal and oil quality and the sustainability of U.S. soybean farmers. As stipulated in the federal Soybean Promotion, Research and Consumer Information Act, the USDA Agricultural Marketing Service has oversight responsibilities for USB and the soy checkoff. For more information on the United Soybean Board, visit unitedsoybean.org.