United Soybean Board uses international experiences to promote sustainability

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United Soybean Board uses international experiences to promote sustainability

The United Soybean Board is working with an international exchange program to enhance sustainability. The USB has partnered with the 72-year-old IFYE, formerly known as the International Farm Youth Exchange, to give soybean farmer leaders an international experience opportunity. IFYE connects sustainability to the ‘whys’ of international business dealings that create successful trade relationships, according to Ken Gordon, executive director of IFYE.

“If you can live it, and live with those people, you’re more apt to better understand where they’re coming from,” Gordon told Brownfield Ag News. “That’s the argument that we made when we submitted our proposal, and it was picked up.”

IFYE began in 1946 under the motto “Peace through Understanding”, with memories of World War II still fresh. With help from the U.S. State Department and from 4-H, Gordon says the first class of young adults traveled in 1948 to Switzerland, Austria, and Germany.

“If a person lived in another culture, lived with families in other countries, and got an understanding of their culture,” said Gordon, “they would be more likely to pull up a chair to discuss differences than to resort to violence.”

Eight people will be selected for a two-month international experience departing in June, unless the pandemic prevents it.

Among notable IFYE alumni are American Soybean Association CEO Steve Censky and former USDA Under Secretary Bruce Knight.

AUDIO: Ken Gordon
AUDIO: IFYE story