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YALE, MI -- Jim Wilson of Yale will help lead U.S. soybean grower international trade development as the new Michigan representative to the American Soybean Association's (ASA) World Initiative for Soy in Human Health (WISHH) Program Committee in 2015-2016. Wilson will represent Michigan as Andy Welden, from Jonesville, retires as the WISHH chairman.

ASA President Wade Cowan confirmed Wilson's appointment. Wilson joins 16 other soybean growers from 11 states on the WISHH Committee.

"WISHH is a trailblazer for trade. It is very important," said Wilson who attended his first WISHH meeting this July in Washington, D.C. "WISHH gives us a tremendous way to support international market development. It is a small investment that is really important when we pool our monies together."

"Michigan soybean growers, like Andy Welden and now Jim Wilson, offer valuable strategic guidance to WISHH's work to create new customers for U.S. soy in fast-growing developing countries in Africa, Asia and Central America," said WISHH Executive Director Jim Hershey. "Through WISHH, U.S. soybean farmers diversify their marketing investments."

The Michigan Soybean Promotion Committee was active in WISHH since its beginnings in the early 2000s. Forward-thinking U.S. soybean leaders in multiple states recognized the growing protein demand in developing countries was a driver for their soybean sales. Well-researched studies showed that most future growth in food demand would be in developing and middle-income countries where populations and incomes were both on the rise.

Today, the trends are even clearer, proving WISHH-founding farmers planned well. According to U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and other economic analysis, developing countries dominate world demand growth for agricultural products. USDA projects developing countries' demand for agricultural products will increase faster than their production. As a result, these countries will account for 92 percent of the total increase in world oilseed and meat imports in 2013-2022.

WISHH helps developing country businesses become more profitable by blending U.S. soy into breads, beverages, meats and more for humans as well as feeds for livestock and aquaculture. In addition to making money, WISHH's supply chain partners help fill the protein gap that exists in many developing country populations' diets.

WISHH and the U.S. Soybean Export Council (USSEC) pave complementary trade routes which grow U.S. soy markets. On October 1, 2015, WISHH will transition its Bangladesh operations to USSEC since the country's annual U.S. soy purchases have now reached more than $2 million. USDA funding aided WISHH in forging key relationships with organizations like the Bangladesh Bakery Association that signed a February 2015 agreement to conduct soy flour trials under a USDA Quality Samples Program.

WISHH is a trade-development organization. Since U.S. soybean farmers founded WISHH in 2000, it has worked in 24 countries to develop long-term markets for U.S. soybean farmers while fueling economic growth and value chain development. The WISHH program, funded by the soybean checkoff, is managed from ASA's world headquarters in St. Louis, Missouri. For more information, visit www.wishh.org.

The Michigan Soybean Promotion Committee manages soybean checkoff funds to increase return on investment for Michigan soybean farmers while enhancing sustainable soybean production. A board of farmer leaders directs MSPC on behalf of the more than 12,000 Michigan soybean farmers. For information about soybean checkoff results, call 989.652.3294 or visit www.michigansoybean.org.

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