Soy to Improve Health and Help Restore Afghan ProductivityThe U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced today that the American Soybean Association’s (ASA) World Initiative for Soy in Human Health (WISHH) program and three partnering organizations will receive a cooperative agreement for work in Afghanistan. The USDA Food for Progress program brings the strengths of soy protein to fight some of the highest rates of malnutrition in the world, as well as help rebuild Afghanistan’s food industry. The estimated value of the project is $26 million.”We are excited to help Afghan farmers rebuild their infrastructure while we make healthy food available to their fellow citizens and to build a market for soy,” said WISHH Chairman and ASA Board member Scott Fritz, a soybean producer from Winamac, Ind. “Diets will improve and soy consumption will increase as Afghan agriculture and the local economy develops. When this happens, everybody wins.”The three-year project will allow WISHH to launch its first extended effort in Afghanistan. Joining WISHH on the project are: Shelter for Life International, which is headquartered in Minnesota; California-based Nutrition and Education International Inc. (NEI), and CBI Global located in Ohio. These organizations have seen the need and enormous potential for soy in their approximately 20 combined years of work in the war-torn country.USDA’s efforts to help redevelop Afghanistan’s agriculture sector is the top Obama Administration priority for reconstruction. The USDA cooperative agreement will provide 240 metric tons of defatted soy flour over the next three years to meet immediate nutritional needs of 5,000 women and their families. The agreement also includes 13,750 metric tons of soybean oil that will be monetized or sold into the local market in support of the project activities. The project will also bolster the processing end of the agricultural value chain, with the shipment of 6,000 metric tons of soybeans over three years. Afghan soybean processing facilities will use the soybeans to produce soy flour and soybean oil for the local market. Over the life of the program and all of its activities, this project will support more than 220,000 direct beneficiaries.Afghanistan has some of the worst health statistics in the world. According to UNICEF, more than half of all children under five suffer from moderate or severe stunting. Twenty five percent of children die before reaching their fifth birthday. The health of rural Afghan people, particularly women and children, is often the worst in the nation.NEI founder and nutrition scientist Dr. Steven Kwon survived the post-war devastation in Korea in the 1950s before moving to the United States. Those experiences prompted him to go to Afghanistan in 2003 to see if he could help. Dr. Kwon identified that soy could play an important role in meeting the dire need for protein.With the support of local Afghan leaders, NEI has distributed soy flour to pregnant and lactating women and conducted nutrition education and soy cooking seminars. NEI has also worked with small bakeries to encourage them to use 10 percent soy flour in the production of naan (a traditional flatbread) for elementary schools and refugee camps.Adding 10 percent soy flour increases the absorbable protein of the naan by 110 percent, says Dr. Kwon, who has witnessed the impact of soy in his 28 trips to Afghanistan. “After one month, the children’s faces go from looking sick to normal,” Kwon says “In three months, we see healthy and happy looking children—all because of soy.”Dr. Kwon is enthusiastic about the expansion of these results by working with WISHH under the new USDA Food for Progress cooperative agreement. “WISHH has the technical expertise to strengthen the (food) processing sector in the country…We can jumpstart this processing sector.”Increased agricultural productivity will require rehabilitation of watersheds and improvements to irrigation infrastructure. Road repairs and small loan programs for farmers are key to the sustainability of the project. Shelter for Life has worked in these areas in Afghanistan since 1997. “The two decades of war crumbled the infrastructure,” says Director of International Programs Mustafa Omar. “We are looking at parts of the country that have a history in food production, but are currently unable to do so.”CBI Global based in Columbus, Ohio, acting as agent for The Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, will be monetization agent for the project. “Robert Clark at CBI was great throughout the entire proposal process and provided a lot of input,” Fritz said. “CBI’s monetization work is key to the entire effort.”The WISHH program is managed from ASA’s world headquarters in Saint Louis. Since U.S. soybean farmers founded WISHH in 2000, WISHH has worked in 23 countries to improve diets, as well as encourage growth of food industries. Please visit www.wishh.org.
Jenny Rohrich, Ashley, N.D.Kudos goes out to Jenny Rohrich, of Ashley, N.D., for presenting at American Soybean Association’s 16th Annual Soybean Leadership College in Orlando, Florida last week.Jenny held a panel discussion titled, “A Farmer’s Guide to Making the Most of Social Media”.Thank you for presenting at the Soybean Leadership College and teaching farmers how to bring agriculture and social media together!Check out Jenny’s blog Prairie Californian and follow her on Facebook and Twitter.Check out last week’s ASA Kudos here!
Figure 1: Growth in U.S. soybean and soybean meal exports to sub-Saharan Africa from 2007 to 2016. (USDA FAS Global Agricultural Trade System Data)The American Soybean Association’s (ASA) World Initiative for Soy in Human Health (WISHH) Program’s long-term market development work in sub-Saharan Africa is gaining traction. In Africa, WISHH works with local supply chain partners to drive early-stage, long-term market growth in developing economies through technical assistance, market linkages, capacity building conferences, trade teams and market building campaigns.U.S. soybean and soybean meal exports to sub-Saharan Africa grew steadily from 2007 to 2016 at an average rate of 4,286 metric tons/year (Figure 1), indicating steady early-stage market growth in the region. Nigeria, Senegal and Ghana accounted for 99 percent of 2016 sales, which were over 41,000 metric tons or an approximate 1.7 million bushel equivalent. These countries are core targets for WISHH animal feed and human food activities in West Africa. As these economies continue to grow, WISHH’s long-term market development work will play a critical role in ensuring that U.S. soybean exports continue to increase.
ASA President John Heisdorffer (left) presents Warren Stemme (right) with Outstanding State Volunteer Award during the annual ASA Banquet at Commodity Classic in Anaheim, Calif on Feb. 28. Photo credit: Joe MurphyThe American Soybean Association (ASA) recognized Warren Stemme, from Chesterfield, Mo., with its Outstanding State Volunteer Award at its annual awards banquet during the 2018 Commodity Classic in Anaheim, Calif.The Outstanding Volunteer Award recognizes the dedication and exemplary contributions of volunteers with at least three years of volunteer service in any area of their state association operation.Stemme is recognized by his state association as being a “standout” volunteer who is always willing to take on challenging tasks to help the association. He’s worked on policy development, advocacy activity, grower engagement, membership recruiting and fundraising.“Warren Stemme is the association leader we all hope to grow up to be,” wrote Missouri Soybean Association President Matt McCrate in his nomination letter. “He seeks to find the best in others and to be that rising tide that lifts all boats, rather than to raise his personal profile.”Stemme’s many years of volunteer work at the state level has helped create financial stability for the Missouri Soybean Association and solid positioning for the organization’s future.While Stemme has served in all the top farmer-leadership positions with the Missouri Soybean Association, he is also recognized for mentoring young growers and helping guide them toward leadership positions.Stemme also regularly opens his farm for farmer-focused events. He is committed to relationship building and strategic initiatives that help further the mission of the Missouri Soybean Association.
U.S. soybean farmers have been present and active developing demand and utilization of soy in Taiwan for nearly 50 years. During a Washington visit this week, Yau-Kuen Hung, chairman of the Taiwan Vegetable Association and Wade Cowan, past president of the American Soybean Association, signed a commitment by the Taiwan soy industry to purchase an additional 600,000- 1 million metric tons of U.S. soybeans.The Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office (TECRO) is hosting a Goodwill Mission from Taiwan with the help of the soy family during this week, and on Wednesday, the delegation met with soy family representatives, Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS) officials and Members of Congress. This trip reestablishes the deep connection and relationship between the U.S. and Taiwan.ASA appreciates the Taiwan market’s steadfast partnership with the U.S. soy industry. The Taiwan Goodwill delegation will travel later this week to Minnesota and then to Iowa.
La Center City Council’s newest member said he supports the current direction of the council, including its recent decision to open lines of communication with the Cowlitz Tribe.Randy Williams has served on the city’s planning commission for two and a half years, acting as the commission chairman since January. He was unanimously selected June 23 for the vacancy left by Councilwoman Barbara Vining, who resigned June 9 to move with her family to Colorado. Williams was sworn in right away and will serve in the position until the next council election in the fall of 2011.Williams said he sees no reason to try to change the current direction of the council, and considers diversifying the city’s tax base as the most important issue in the city. One way to help diversify sources of income is to extend the city limits west to the Interstate 5 junction and develop the area, he said.“Anything to bring jobs to La Center is good,” Williams said.La Center is unusual because of the significant portion of city revenue that comes from local cardrooms. But Williams said he doesn’t believe the city should place all of its eggs in one basket.“That’s a business decision,” he said. “A business would diversify.”Williams, 60, moved to La Center five years ago with his wife of 16 years, Lorraine; twin sons, Sean and Ian; and daughter, Chelsea. Sean and Ian will enter the ninth grade at La Center High School this fall; Chelsea will enter fifth grade at the elementary school.
LONGVIEW, Wash. (AP) — Longview police say a student initially thought to have displayed a handgun in a Longview high school cafeteria was really carrying a knife.Capt. Jim Duscha says the boy flashed a large “Rambo-style” knife Wednesday morning, then snapped it back into a plastic holster. The officer tells the Daily News of Longview that other students mistook the sound for a magazine being loaded into a gun and they alerted Mark Morris High School officials. That prompted a widespread lockdown of Longview schools and Lower Columbia College.Police arrested a 15-year-old boy a short time later as he walked along a road. The officer says the knife was recovered later but he did not know where it was found. The unidentified teen was booked into a juvenile detention center for possession of a dangerous weapon, unlawful use of a weapon and obstructing a police officer. Longview Superintendent Suzanne Cusick says the school lockdowns were later lifted.
The first vote cast by the Vancouver City Council in its new council meeting chambers Monday was a unanimous one — albeit it was to approve meeting minutes from Aug. 15.But, by the end of the inaugural meeting at the new City Hall downtown, the council had a dissenting vote, heard from concerned citizens and was back to business as usual.Vancouver is fully moved from five buildings spread out over 10 miles into one building, at 415 W. Sixth St., across from Esther Short Park.“It will be our new home for the next 50 years, no doubt about it,” Vancouver Mayor Tim Leavitt said as the meeting drew to a close around 9:15 p.m. “We start a new era. What a great overall morale builder and a great next step forward.”Just hours before the meeting was set to start, staff scrambled to unpack chairs and finish final details, while a group of neighborhood association leaders also got a grand preview tour. The official dedication and open house for the public will be Saturday from noon to 3 p.m.Vancouver purchased the six-story, 118,000-square-foot building from Bank of America in June 2010 for $18.5 million, more than half off the estimated $40 million construction cost. The building was built by Downtown Vitality Partners, a group that includes Columbian Publisher Scott Campbell, but was forfeited in early 2010 as part of a bankruptcy settlement. The Columbian had no stake in the sale to the city.
Firefighters responding to a report of a stove fire in a Vancouver restaurant late Saturday were met with something unexpected when they arrived at the scene.It was the stove, still burning, sitting on a sidewalk outside.Workers at Malibu’s, 115 E. Seventh St., had carried the burning electric range outside after a fire extinguisher didn’t put out the fire, said Capt. Kevin Murray of the Vancouver Fire Department.Murray said fire officials do not recommend taking that sort of initiative.“Whether it’s a pan or an appliance, you don’t want to take the risk of carrying it through the building while it’s burning,” Murray said. “We recommend to discharge the fire extinguisher, call 911 and evacuate the building.”Crews responding to the 9:51 p.m. incident used another extinguisher to finish off the fire, Murray said. They also worked to clear smoke from the business and from another business that had shared second-story space.No one was injured. A fire marshal was being called in to investigate.
Scofflaws beware: Live video of your high jinks will soon be streamed directly to the Clark County Sheriff’s Office.That’s the message Clark County Public Works is hoping to share with vandals who have frequently targeted Pacific Community Park, which sits near the intersection of Northeast 162nd Avenue and Northeast 18th Street. County workers on Friday spent a few hours cleaning up the latest graffiti and installing three cameras and signs warning park visitors they are being watched.Bill Bjerke, operations superintendent for parks and grounds maintenance at Clark County’s Department of Public Works says the cameras are a necessary move.“It’s something that we have to do,” he said. “It’s a huge consumption of our maintenance time. We have to drop our planned activities to take care of maintenance there.”Since the park opened in December 2007, the county has recorded 131 cases of vandalism,resulting in more than $27,000 in repairs. Cases of vandalism have been increasing over the years and occurred at a rate of about once a week in 2011, Bjerke said.Vandalism includes attempted arson, destruction of park property and a lot of graffiti, he said.Maintenance crews try to use liquids to remove graffiti whenever possible, but they usually need to sandblast the walls with pumice. Theoretically, the pumice can remove the graffiti without hurting the structure’s surface, but it will still do some damage with multiple applications, he said.