Broomfield, Colorado, Oct. 20 – Recognizing the value an international experience can have on young leaders, the United Soybean Board (USB) recently approved a proposal from the IFYE Association of the USA, Inc. to immerse eight of its young leaders in international experiences for three months in four European and Asian countries. IFYE, formerly known as the International Farm Youth Exchange (IFYE) is a 72-year-old international exchange program for young adults age 19 and above.
IFYE submitted its proposal for funding under the USB’s sustainability section. “The focus of our proposal was for USB to look at the sustainability of their leadership pipeline. The IFYE program has had more than 5,000 young-adult participants. Research has shown that those who live internationally and interact with families in those countries have a greater appreciation for cultural diversity. This enhances leadership capabilities,” said Victoria Fehrmann Warren, president, IFYE Association of the USA, Inc.
“USB recognizes the value an extended international experience can bring to our board,” said Mace Thornton, USB Vice President of Communications and Marketing Strategy. “The proposal submitted by IFYE aligns well with our leadership expectations to do all we can to open new markets abroad and increase the value chain for U.S. soybean producers.” After receiving USB approval, the proposal was also approved by the United States Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Marketing Service (USDA-AMS), which has oversight responsibilities for USB and the soy checkoff.
The young leaders selected for this USB program will be placed in Poland, Germany, Thailand, and Taiwan. All participants will be required to complete a medical examination and obtain appropriate vaccinations before travel. If travel restrictions continue, then alternative actions will be taken. Once in country, they will live with three to four host families, spend time at the U.S. Embassy for a first-hand trade relations experience with USDA Foreign Agriculture Service staff, meet with in-country government agriculture officials, other country agriculture leaders, and may include experiences at in-country soybean processing facilities.
The application process for this opportunity will begin in October 2020, with orientation to start in early March 2021. Candidates for the program will follow the IFYE application and interview process with final selections confirmed by USB. Selected participants will depart for their host countries in June. The program will conclude upon their return in September 2021, and will include a debriefing with the USDA Foreign Agriculture Service in Washington, D.C.
Founded in 1948, the IFYE Association of the USA, Inc. provides cultural exchange programming that places participants with multiple host families during a two- three- or six-month period in countries around the world and the U.S. IFYE representatives experience once-in-a-lifetime opportunities to gain understanding of the culture and lifestyle from those they live with while in the program. IFYE exchanges are conducted in collaboration with international, U.S., state and local coordinators and are facilitated and supported by the IFYE Association of the USA, Inc. The IFYE motto of “Peace through Understanding” continues to touch the lives of people around the world.