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Bakers from Senegal, Africa visit Evansville farm

Minnesota soybean farmers, including Jeffrey and Karen Larson of Evansville, hosted a group of Senegalese bakers and baking importers to help them better understand the benefits of baking with soy. (Contributed)1 / 2
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A group of bakers from west Africa now better understands the benefits of baking with soy while learning more about the farmers who grow soybeans.

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Minnesota soybean farmers hosted a group of Senegalese bakers and baking importers to give them a look at the benefits of soy flour and the farms their products come from.

The group of eight was welcomed October 26 to Jeffrey and Karen Larson’s soybean and corn farm near Evansville. Their visit was part of a tour hosted by the Minnesota Soybean Research and Promotion Council (MSR&PC), in conjunction with the World Initiative for Soy in Human Health (WISHH), to encourage guests to use soy flour in their operations. 

Before coming to Minnesota, the group took a three-day class in Fargo at the Northern Crops Institute (NCI) about baking with soy. They learned the benefits of using soy flour versus other flours in their operations. Some of the benefits include higher rising dough, longer shelf life and a significant increase in protein.

Following the baking class at NCI, the delegation made farm visits in Minnesota, including a stop at the Larson farm to learn how soybeans and other local crops are grown.

“We were able to share with them the care we put into raising and harvesting our crops, show them the equipment we use on our farm and learn from them about agriculture in their region,” said Karen Larson. “They were very interested in learning how we farm with technology and seeing how we are able to provide a healthy product to supply them with their needs.”

Local farmers hope visits like these will encourage the Senegal baking industry to see soy flour as a beneficial baking option, influencing buying decisions in the future. 

“I would say that visits like these are very important to us as agricultural producers,” said Jeffrey Larson. “The fact that they are interested in using our soy flour and learning the process of how it gets to our table is valuable to help facilitate our relationship with them. I put a very high value on these trade groups and think it is the way we need to continue promoting our product.”

Along with Larson’s farm, the group visited farms near Callaway, Mankato and Ellendale.

The MSR&PC oversees the investment of soybean checkoff dollars on behalf of the state’s soybean farmers. The council is governed by the rules of a federally mandated checkoff program that requires all soybean producers to pay a fee on the soybeans they sell. Funds are used to promote, educate and develop market opportunities for soybeans.

For more information, contact Shawna Aakre, Minnesota Soybean Regional Field communicator, at or phone (507) 995-9495.