Seeing is believing. That’s why USB is giving a group of U.S. soybean farmers an inside look at the customers, facilities and opportunities that their checkoff dollars make possible. During this mission, Feb. 4-11, 2024, to Panama and Colombia, farmers will meet with customers and visit the Panama Canal, talk aquaculture and learn about U.S. Soy’s contribution to animal ag, and so much more. Each day, a farmer will provide a boots-on-the-ground look at how checkoff investments are opening up the world to U.S. soybean farmers. These are their stories from the field. 


See for Yourself, Day 1 – Part 1

Christian Good, Mississippi Soybean Farmer 

February 5, 2024  

I’m Christian Good, a soybean farmer from Macon, Mississippi. I’m kicking off the See for Yourself daily blogs. We hit the ground running on day one. The group toured the Panama Canal. During the tour, we soaked up valuable information like learning how ships are rerouted and how freight costs affect U.S. soybean farmers. So, for us, what happens internationally is so vital for our farms on a local level. One of the cool things [on the tour] that spoke to me as a soybean farmer is the importance of infrastructure, how upgrades are necessary to keep current with new ship styles and what it takes to move U.S. soybeans across the globe. I had three things in mind going into the See for Yourself mission. I wanted to learn more about USB, the U.S. Soybean Export Council (USSEC) and other soybean programs. I wanted to experience new parts of the world and see where soybeans travel. Lastly, I wanted to learn more about the soybean industry – the consumer side and the end of what we produce. I’m pleased with my experience and can’t wait to see what else we learn on this journey.  


See for Yourself, Day 1 – Part 2 

Ryan Wilson, Southeast Missouri Farmer  

February 5, 2024 

I’m Ryan Wilson, a southeast Missouri Farmer. I’ve always been interested in agriculture worldwide, but when you see it from a global aspect, it is exciting. I was excited when I found out I would tour the Panama Canal as a part of the See for Yourself mission. I’ve always been interested in the Panama Canal and wanted to see it in person. Seeing it in action, seeing ships cross, was amazing. Another exciting part of this mission was seeing the Panama Canal. This is a great experience. I’ve learned so much in just one day and look forward to learning more during the mission. Check back for more on what we’ve learned and how my fellow farmers enjoy the See for Yourself mission. You can also see more from our journey on YouTube. 

See for Yourself, Day 2 – Part 1

USAPEEC Market Tour

Heath Houck, Illinois Farmer

February 6, 2024

Hi, I’m Heath Houck, an Illinois farmer. Day two of the See for Yourself mission got off to a great start. We learned a lot about the many uses of soybeans. As a farmer, we tend to think about growing whole beans. This experience has shown us how vital the other parts of growing soybeans are worldwide, for example, for soybean meal. We visited grocery stores where they introduced poultry from the U.S. to customers, so they have access to a good protein source. The United Soybean Board promotes using the whole bean, and I recognized that during this visit. The See for Yourself program provides a fantastic opportunity for someone like me who is new to the Illinois Soybean Association. As a new board member, I thought it would be good to see some of the programs the checkoff supports. As a farmer, I want to know what I’m doing and how it affects people worldwide. It’s not just whole soybeans; it’s the meat industry, the poultry industry, exports, and many other things working together to make one solid product.

See for Yourself, Day 2 – Part 2

Everett “Bo” Mason, Arkansas Farmer

February 6, 2024

My name is Everett “Bo” Mason. I am a soybean producer in Arkansas. The See for Yourself mission has been an excellent way to learn more about how checkoff dollars are spent and how that value comes back to farmers. I’m happy I applied to be a part of this mission because I get to see with my own eyes how everything is happening. We learned about supply issues and what the United States of America Poultry & Egg Export Council (USAPEEC) and other organizations are doing to help with the demand for U.S. soybeans. We discovered that exporting chicken also exports soybeans. We talked to hog producers and visited supermarkets to see how to integrate our products into their stores. I plan to take what I’ve learned home to Arkansas to share with other local farmers to give them a better understanding of what progress is being made with the checkoff and why it is essential. We boarded a flight to Bogo, Colombia, where we’ll tour an aquaculture farm next. Tomorrow, two more farmers will share their journey on the See for Yourself homepage. YouTube is also a great place to follow us during this mission.

See for Yourself, Day 3 – Part 1

Aquaculture Tour

Jared Nash, Kansas Farmer

February 7, 2024

Hi, I’m Jared Nash. I’m a Kansas farmer, and I’m also on the Kansas State Soybean Association. The See for Yourself mission has been eye-opening. Today, we toured a fish and aquaculture farm in Neiva, Colombia where red and black tilapia are raised. We learned about the role U.S. Soy plays in the expansion of the aquaculture industry to meet growing demand for fish and seafood. It was interesting to see and learn about the number of fish they produce daily and how they produce them. They use an inter-pond raceway and have different pens for fish. 35,000 fish are raised in each pen. Participating in this mission taught me a lot about what the United Soybean Board does abroad. It was fascinating to see how USB promotes U.S. soybeans internationally.

See for Yourself, Day 3 – Part 2

Mason Welden, Kentucky Farmer

I’m Mason Weldon, and I’m from Morganfield, KY. I grow corn, soybeans, and wheat. Today, we visited a fish facility where they process tilapia. We had to sanitize and wear PPE before we entered. It was interesting to learn that every part of the fish is used, and nothing goes to waste. It’s essential that all the different resources that come from growing fish and aquaculture, which are fed U.S. Soy, can be used in many ways. I’m happy I decided to participate in this fantastic opportunity. I’m a recent college graduate and understand that continuing education is essential. I want to be involved in the farming community, grow as a farmer, and make an impact for the better. The See for Yourself mission is an excellent way for me to understand what we are doing with U.S. soybeans and our partnerships and hopefully develop markets in the future that will build demand. Follow along with us on our mission in Central America here on USB’s See for Yourself homepage and on YouTube.

See for Yourself, Day 4 – Part 1

February 8, 2024

Mary Stewart, Maryland Farmer

Hi, I’m Mary Stewart. I’m a Maryland farmer. This has been a fantastic opportunity to learn from different cultures. I love farming, and I love the farming community. As farmers, we count on our customer base locally and globally, and I wanted to understand the whole picture. Every single day, we have been busy. We’ve learned so much. We met with great representatives from USB partner organizations like USAPEEC and USMEF. I soaked up everything from meat packaging to farming fish to aquaculture and all the politics and dynamics everyone must deal with in these countries. It was very relatable to what we experience back home. The world got a lot smaller for us, and now I have a much better understanding of how we’re all connected and have similar goals and interests, and we can work together with all these organizations. That has been so cool to see firsthand, and that is what See for Yourself provided for us all.

See for Yourself, Day 4 – Part 2

Ricky Telesz, Pennsylvania Farmer

We visited a flower market and a fresh fruit and produce market. It was exciting to see how locals sell to other locals. It was different compared to what you see at big box stores in the U.S. It was fantastic to see all the flowers and how beautiful they were. The price of roses was about one dollar for two dozen roses. You cannot find that price back home. The main reason why I wanted to participate in the See for Yourself mission was to visit Colombia and Panama, to experience the culture, and see where our checkoff dollars are going and how much of an impact we are making in Central America which in return will create more demand for U.S. soybeans. Check back for more on what we’ve learned and how my fellow farmers enjoy the See for Yourself mission here and on YouTube.

See for Yourself, Day 5 – Part 1

February 9, 2024

Nick Sousek, Nebraska Farmer

Hi, I am Nick Sousek from Wahoo, Nebraska. I can’t believe it’s day five already. The See for Yourself mission has taught me so much. Today, we met with groups from Columbia as part of the Soybean Excellence Center organized by USSEC. My key takeaway was USB’s emphasis on showing how checkoff dollars are used. Hearing from Grupo BIOS, one of the feed companies here in Colombia, also stood out to me. They highlighted the impact not just on their employees but also their customers. It all starts with us at a local level, creating profitability and sustainability within our communities. This ripple effect extends to our customers in Central America and beyond, offering them opportunities for better lives through employment and our products. Seeing this sustainable and cost-effective approach to improving lives firsthand, even halfway around the world, was inspiring. As a farmer and a local grain merchant broker, I am eager to share this experience with my clients. It is not just about the value the checkoff provides but also about the tangible ways we make a difference in lives worldwide.

See for Yourself, Day 5 – Part 2

Brock Grubbs, Iowa Farmer

Hi, I am Brock Grubbs from Perry, Iowa. The See for Yourself mission has given me an experience I will never forget. We visited a feed mill, and I talked to the COO. He told us how our soybeans from the U.S. mean a lot to him and his entire company. He can pay his employees twice the minimum wage in a heavily impoverished community. It brought him to tears and almost brought me to tears, knowing we are doing something for a greater purpose worldwide. I knew this would be the trip of a lifetime when I decided to come. I understood the U.S. soybean industry’s impact in my head before coming on this trip, but all the things we have done and seen have helped me understand this more deeply. I will always remember seeing this all for the first time. This new perspective inspires me, and I am eager to return to work now that I have seen our work’s impact on the world. Another farmer will share their experience tomorrow. Follow along with our journey here and on YouTube.

See for Yourself, Day 6 – Part 1

Adele Flynn, Ohio Farmer

Hello, I’m Adele Flynn, a soybean farmer from Wellington, Ohio. Reflecting on our week in Central America, all I can say is, “Wow!”. What an unbelievable experience the United Soybean Board (USB) has provided us to show just a small part of how our checkoff dollars are being invested. As farmers, we tend to forget about the soybeans from the time they leave our fields or bins. The See for Yourself program showed us how our checkoff dollars go to work, guaranteeing U.S. soybean farmers have a vital, strong, and competitive market. But it is so much more than that! We were able to see how our soybeans are making an impact on people’s lives, all while learning a ton, forming great new friendships, and making connections.

All of us can agree there was not one moment where we felt that our time would be better served back on our farms. Seeing the passion and work that the USSEC team, most of whom are foreign, puts into our product is truly inspiring. They believe in U.S. Soy, and they want others to benefit from it. If anything, this trip has given us the motivation to go back home and be better farmers and stewards of our land.

On our final day, we had a special experience visiting the ranch of past Colombian President Álvaro Uribe Vélez. Uribe was extremely influential in developing the U.S. – Colombia free trade agreement. His stories of leading with love for family and community were truly inspiring. It was a great reminder of why farmers get up and do what we do every day. We want to make a better place for our families and our communities. We learned so much in our time in Panama and Colombia. Maybe the most valuable was seeing how U.S. soybeans are not just commodities but agents of change. It’s pretty special that we have the opportunity to grow them!