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Northern Crop Institute Introduces International Soybean Course for Delegates from Six Asian Countries – Agweek

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FARGO, ND The Institute of Northern Culture organized its first personal course for an international delegation since the COVID-19 pandemic.

The NCI began in 1979 as a collaborative effort between Minnesota, Montana, North Dakota and South Dakota to promote, develop and market the cultures grown in the region. It is now an international meeting and learning center that brings together clients, merchants, technical experts and professors for discussion and education. Since 1983, over 133 countries have sent participants to NCI, according to its website.

But during the pandemic, these learning opportunities had to be passed on to courses and virtual contacts and not in person. The soybean procurement course with the food class, held over a five-day period in early June, was the first course since the pandemic began to bring international participants to Fargo.

Attendees came from six Asian countries to learn about the soybean industry in the upper Midwest. Many present were soy buyers, seeking to learn more about soybeans in the Midwest and to acquire that knowledge and apply it to their businesses. During the five-day period, attendees learned about buying soybeans in the region, the overall quality of soybean seeds, and the availability of certain types of soybeans.

We are really excited to learn about soy and food grade production, said Thae Ei Phyu.

Phyu was Myanmar’s representative for the delegation. She also works with the American Soybean Association and the World Soybean Initiative for Human Health. She traveled with seven other people to Fargo to attend the seminar.

Alan Poock is the director of the Asian division for WISHH. He said the soybean industry in the region plays an important role in the production of Asian soybean products.

The Midwest produces a high volume of soybeans. It is very productive. And there is a surplus in this area when you think about it. We grow more than we consume with animal feed markets or human food markets, so we need to find customers for them internationally to help purchase those extra soybeans, be they human food, food for animals or aquaculture, he said.

Poock also stated that Asian attendees appreciate the tireless work and dedication that the region’s farmers make to their crops and acres.

The pride soybean farmers have when planting seeds and the care they take throughout the growing season, he said. Many of the farmers are multi-generational, that means a lot to the trade team members.

The NCI held close to 20 events virtually throughout the pandemic, which came with its difficulties when trying to work with people from all over the world. According to Brian Sorenson, program manager for NCI, there were many calls and meetings late in the evening and early in the morning to ensure that NCI was still offering the learning opportunities it had before the pandemic.

We are extremely excited to be back giving the programs in person. There is nothing like being face to face with these clients personally, he said. Building relationships is a very important part of what we do because it’s really the best way for them to get the best experience and fully understand how it all works.

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