Northern Soy Marketing (NSM) headed to the Big Apple this week to attend the U.S. Soybean Export Council’s Soy Connext international conference.

“Over 50 countries and over 700 attendees had a presence at this year’s show,” said Patrick O’Leary, chairman of NSM who also farms near Benson, Minn. “Being an international event, we had the opportunity to network and meet buyers and end users in our overseas markets. It really is the place to be.”

NSM comprises the soybean checkoff organizations from Minnesota, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota and Wisconsin. The board invests checkoff funds to conduct research on soybean quality in U.S. soybeans and soybean meal destined for export, especially those from the Pacific Northwest ports.

NSM funds educational outreach and promotion for international soybean buyers to consider critical amino acid value as a complete assessment of soybean feed quality, rather than only crude protein levels.

Alongside O’Leary, NSM Vice Chair and Claremont, S.D., farmer Mike McCranie and Secretary/Treasurer and Beaver Dam, Wis., farmer Nancy Kavazanjian also attended the Aug. 21-23 event.

“You can’t find an event that brings more people together,” McCranie said. “NSM finds value in the event because it truly connects the entire soybean network together. From producer to international end user, and everyone in between, New York City was the cornerstone for great discussion in the soy industry this week.”

Throughout the conference, breakout and keynote speakers touched on a variety of topics, including crop updates across the U.S., global trade opportunities, sustainability, the future of soy oil markets, sourcing soy, trading on quality and more.

Kavazanjian, who also sits on the United Soybean Board, said Wisconsin is focusing much effort into expanding their export opportunities from the Badger State.

“Wisconsin has made great strides in diversifying and expanding export channels through the St. Lawrence Seaway,” Kavazanjian said. “I was able to talk to potential buyers about the new opportunities coming from our state, and why buyers should long for our high-quality beans.”

Next month, NSM will host a trade team from Indonesia and Thailand, making several stops across the member states, including O’Leary’s farm in west-central Minnesota.

“When it comes to promoting our soybeans, relationships are critical,” O’Leary said. “No matter if we are at an international conference, visiting buyers overseas or walking around my own farm, it all comes down to maintaining and growing relationships whenever we can.”