PRINCETON, Ky. — Executive Director Debbie Ellis and farmer-leaders Brent Gatton, Fred L. Sipes and Adam Hendricks joined Amanda and Matt Gajdzik as they hosted a U.S. Soybean Export Council (USSEC) EU Sustainability Farm Tour at Gajdzik Farms/Mulberry Orchard in Shelbyville recently. The tour group included key stakeholders and decision-makers from several facets of the feed and food industries from the UK, the Netherlands, Italy, Germany, France, and Spain.
The group, led by Kentucky native Brent Babb and team lead Gene Philhower of USSEC, represented feed companies that supply the aquaculture, poultry, cattle, and swine species. Tour participants had a particular interest in the sustainability of US farms and were interested to hear the farmers speak about the conservation practices they personally implement. They were especially interested to hear that 98 percent of US farms are family farms, and how different and diversified every family farm is.
The tour kicked off on Labor Day with arrival in Chicago, and continued through a number of stops in Indiana before arriving Wednesday afternoon at the Gajdzik farm, where Amanda and Matt raise soybeans and corn while operating a thriving agritourism venue. Following a wagon ride tour around the farm, attendees were treated to dinner and discussion with farmer-leaders at Claudia Sanders Dinner House, courtesy of the Kentucky Soybean Board.
The tour wrapped up with a stop at CGB in Jeffersonville and another farm visit on Thursday and concluded with a program at the USSEC office in Chesterfield, Missouri, before departure on Friday.
“You know, our partnership with USSEC is a really important checkoff investment that we make every year,” said Board member Adam Hendricks, who serves as Kentucky’s representative to USSEC. “The more I learn about how USSEC is investing our dollars into developing markets for our soybeans and increasing other countries’ preference for US soy over beans from other countries, the more I appreciate what they’re doing. One soybean farmer from Russellville, Kentucky, might not be able to do much by himself, but the folks at USSEC do a great job telling our story and making connections with our international customers.”
The farmer-leaders appreciated USSEC taking the lead on this tour and the Gajdziks for opening their farm to the group.
— Kentucky Soybean Board