Illinois Soybean Farmers Help Facilitate Checkoff-Funded Nutrition Efforts

Staff Writer
Aledo Times Record

Illinois soybean farmers continue to invest checkoff dollars in efforts to facilitate greater global nutrition opportunities.  Most recently, several Illinois farmers joined U.S. Representative Adam Kinzinger from Manteno, at the "Nutrition and Agriculture Value Chains: Finding the Links” conference in Washington, D.C.

Kinzinger delivered the keynote address.  "Just over a decade ago, a group of (Illinois) farmers I like to brag about, along with some other folks, came up with an idea which they decided to act on.  That idea was to use their expertise and experience in order to bolster the nourishment of the hungry and malnourished throughout the world with a commodity they knew well; soy," he told the more than 100 people in attendance, including representatives of government agencies, nutrition and development organizations, businesses and farmers.

"A lot of progress has been made.  The good news for us is that in 2010, for the first time in 15 years, the number of undernourished people in the world actually declined," said Kinzinger.

"The Illinois Soybean Association (ISA) has supported efforts to help the World Initiative for Soy in Human Health (WISHH) and National Soybean Research Laboratory (NSRL) to bring the benefits of U.S. soy protein to developing countries," says Bill Wykes, soybean farmer from Yorkville and ISA director.  "We know developing nations today are the U.S. soy customers of tomorrow."

Kinzinger met with Illinois leaders after his keynote address, including Pat Dumoulin, soybean farmer from Hampshire; C.W. Gaffner, soybean farmer from Greenville; Dan Farney, soybean farmer from Morton; and Wykes.  All four are WISHH program committee members.  Also present was Rus Kinzinger, World Soy Foundation board member and Representative Kinzinger's father, and Nathan Ruby, World Soy Foundation executive director from Dunlap, Ill.

The World Soy Foundation and WISHH hosted the event, convening stakeholders who share a common interest in offering more nutritious diets for people in developing countries.  Sponsors included Cargill, Solae, Monsanto and the Monsanto Fund and state soybean checkoff boards.

"As a member of the military who served overseas in Afghanistan, I have been given the unique opportunity to experience the detrimental impacts food insecurity has on a population first hand," said Kinzinger.  "Having access to food is the biggest disinfectant to terrorism...The role you play is not just important to feeding people, it is security.  It very well may save American lives."

The Illinois Soybean Association (ISA) is the statewide organization for Illinois soybean growers.  The farmers on its board administer soybean checkoff funds to support research, promotions, and educational programs designed to increase demand for Illinois soybeans and administer legislation and membership programs. For more information, visit: