Celebrate Soy Foods Month with Key Lime Pie
Increasing the value of U.S. soy meal and oil, maintaining farmers’ freedom to operate, as well as meeting customers’ needs for high-quality soy products are strategic objectives of the United Soybean Board (USB). They’ve also been a personal mission for North Dakota farmer Vanessa Kummer, who has served on the USB board for the past decade.
“I really hope my involvement opens the door for more women and helps empower them to believe they deserve to have a seat at the table,” says Vanessa, who was the first woman to be elected as USB chairperson and the first North Dakotan elected to this position.
Thirty percent of U.S. farms are operated by women, and an even higher percentage of farming operations involve women along with other family members. Women’s roles in farming are changing as more women are earning business degrees and even MBAs before returning to their family farms. That’s why Vanessa believes it’s important for women to be active in the industry and represented in leadership positions.
When asked how more women can become involved in agricultural organizations, Vanessa said, “Show up to meetings regularly, ask questions and participate.” As one of three female panelists at the Top Producers Executive Women in Agriculture event last December in Chicago, she said the amount of misinformation being spread about farming is a real concern. She also said that more and more consumers are being misled by media.
Consumer outreach was one of Vanessa’s main focuses while serving as USB chair. She worked with leadership within the National Corn Growers Association to launch the CommonGroundTM program aimed at addressing consumers’ food concerns by sharing facts about farming and dispelling food myths. CommonGround focuses on women-to-women communications to bridge the gap between rural and urban areas. It involves a group of volunteer farmer participants, representing all sectors of agriculture.
“Food safety concerns can affect our freedom to farm,” says Vanessa. “That’s why U.S. farmers must connect with consumers. It’s important to share our stories and promote understanding. If we don’t give consumers the facts about U.S. agriculture, then who will?”
Vanessa recently finished serving her term as USB chair, but she remains active within the industry and in her community. But being active is nothing new to Vanessa. She’s held leadership positions within several organizations during the past 35 years that’s she’s been farming.
Vanessa has been active on the United Soybean Board for the past decade. Her service included four years on the USB executive committee including two as chair for the Communications Program. As USB Vice-Chair, she also served as chair for the Global Opportunities Program and as team lead for the USB Strategic Planning Team. She has termed off USB, but continues to serve as a director for the United States Soybean Export Council (USSEC), the international marketing arm for USB and the American Soybean Association (ASA).
On the state level, Vanessa has served the North Dakota Soybean Growers Association as a board member, treasurer and past president. She also has been active with the North Dakota Corn Growers. She served as a 4-H leader and as softball coach, plus she’s a member of the North Dakota State college of Science’s Athletic Hall of Fame. In addition, Vanessa is active in her local church.
Vanessa and her husband, Paul, continue to operate their family farm. Their daughter, Rachael, is a math teacher in Colorado. Their son and daughter-in-law, Blaine and Megan, farm with them south of Fargo where they raise sugar beets, corn and soybeans.
As a soybean grower, Vanessa sings agriculture’s praises by advocating for America’s soybean farmers. That’s why, in celebration of April Soyfoods Month, Vanessa is sharing with us one of her favorite recipes for Key Lime Pie.
Key Lime Pie
- 1- graham cracker pie shell
- 1- 14 oz. can sweetened condensed milk
- 1- box Silken firm lite Tofu (12 oz)
- 1/2 cup Key Lime juice
- Combine sweetened condensed milk and tofu in blender, add lime juice and blend until smooth.
- Pour filling into pie shell and bake 12-15 min. at 350°. Allow to cool 10 minutes and refrigerate.
- Can be garnished with whipped cream and lime slices when serving.
- This recipe does not require baking as the tofu substitutes for the eggs, and will set up in the refrigerator.