ISA Hosts Second ‘Gather Around the Table’ Event for Food Industry Guests

Bloomington, Ill. – August 05, 2022 – On Thursday, August 4, the Illinois Soybean Association (ISA) and  stakeholders from the food industry gathered around the table at OC Farms in Kankakee, Illinois for an on-the-farm dinner event to discuss sustainable soybean production.

“We were excited to bring back the Gather Around the Table dinner event for a second year because we believe that Illinois soybean farmers share the same commitment as food industry stakeholders to provide consumers sustainably grown food ingredients, being good stewards of our land, and reducing our environmental impact,” said Rachel Peabody, Director of Communications for ISA. “We value the opportunity to get to know our stakeholders better and learn about their current efforts in meeting consumer demands for sustainable products and supporting the environment.”

The event included a four-course soy-centric meal and walking tours to learn about soybean production directly from Illinois farmers. Topics for discussion included the wide uses of soybeans, why land stewardship is important to farmers, soil erosion prevention tactics, water use reduction and quality, and renewable energy use. Guests were also invited to discuss their organization’s consumer demands for sustainable products with the hope that ISA can lend a hand in helping them meet those demands.

“After attending the Gather Around the Table event last year as a guest, I decided that if ISA wanted to continue hosting this event, I wanted to open up my farm to that opportunity,” says ISA Board Director and OC Farms owner, Jeff O’Connor. “It's a natural setting to bring together people from different industries, locations and backgrounds to think together about what we can accomplish in the service of healthier populations and a more sustainable future.

Evening presenters included Mayasari Effendi from Mayasari Tempeh who discussed tempeh education, Roger Theisen from Corteva who presented High Oleic oil versatility and benefits as an ingredient, and Beth Breeding from the National Turkey Federation who offered a unique perspective on the role of soy in animal agriculture.

During the walking tours, O’Connor provided insights on his sustainability practices, on farm biodiesel usage, carbon sequestration, how farmers are meeting IL nutrient loss goals, slake test and rainfall simulator demonstrations, and the use of soy as a protein source.

“This event is especially important in our current culture as we are becoming more diverse as a population in our food and diet preferences,” says O’Connor. “Promoting soy as a healthy, versatile protein is a great opportunity for soybean farmers as well as the food industry to positively impact human health, animal health and the environment.”  

The Illinois Soybean Association (ISA) checkoff and membership programs represent more than 43,000 soybean farmers in Illinois. The checkoff funds market development and utilization efforts while the membership program supports the government relations interests of Illinois soybean farmers at the local, state, and national level, through the Illinois Soybean Growers (ISG). ISA upholds the interests of Illinois soybean producers through promotion, advocacy, and education with the vision of becoming a market leader in sustainable soybean production and profitability. For more information, visit the website www.ilsoy.org and www.ilsoygrowers.com. 

 

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