United Soybean Board farmer-leaders elected Illinois farmer Dan Farney as 2021 USB chair and 10 other farmer-leaders, including Martin County farmer Rochelle Krusemark, to serve on USB’s Executive Committee at the virtual annual meeting on Dec. 9-10. In addition, 19 directors, including Fairmont farmer Lawrence Sukalski, were sworn in for new terms by the USDA.
“What an honor to have been selected by my fellow farmers to lead the soy checkoff next year,” Farney said. “I’m so proud of our accomplishments but look forward to going a step further to increase the value and preference for U.S. soy.”
USB leadership, with oversight from USDA, guides the activity of the national soy checkoff in accordance with the strategy outlined by the 78-member board.
“As the stewards of the soy checkoff, we are committed to research and market development on behalf of all soybean farmers that strengthens the resilience of U.S. soybean production,” Farney said. “This ranges from developing new customers abroad to building demand domestically through animal agriculture, human consumption, biodiesel and industrial uses for over 1,000 products on the market.”
Krusemark, who was first appointed to USB in 2015, currently raises soybeans, corn and hogs on her Trimont-based farm, and also works as a crop insurance adjuster. She’s the Minnesota Soybean Research & Promotion Council’s current District 8 representative.
“I’m honored my colleagues believe my skillset can help further serve USB,” she said. “We’ve learned a lot from this year, and I’m looking forward to representing our farmers again in 2021.”
USB continues to focus on three priority areas for investment: meal, oil and sustainability. During the board meeting and strategy sessions, USB directors considered market impacts and challenges in 2020 as well as opportunities that will affect soybean value into 2021.
“Soybean farmers are the definition of resilient,” USB CEO Polly Ruhland said. “You can’t knock them down, and you certainly can’t count them out. The checkoff is a reflection of that spirit. Your dedicated farmer-leaders not only push the checkoff forward, but they also rightly expect more from each successive project in which they invest.”
Key successes for 2020 that were discussed included checkoff-funded research, planning, analysis and design to inform the dredging of the lower Mississippi River and opening new export channels for U.S. soybeans. Demand was driven domestically as well, with large companies such as Skechers and Goodyear committing to using more U.S. soybean oil than ever in their products. And companies creating new products in infrastructure, including soy-based asphalt and a soy oil-based concrete enhancer, took key steps forward to reach widespread adoption and use on roadways and bridges.
“It’s been a difficult year in many ways, but soybean farmers have never strayed from their goal of providing a high-quality product to customers,” said USB Past Chair Jim Carroll III from Arkansas. “I couldn’t be more pleased with the work of our checkoff this past year in adapting during the pandemic to reach end users and maximize profit opportunities in new and innovative ways.”
Joining Krusemark and Sukalski on USB are MSR&PC Directors Gene Stoel (District 7) and Bill Zurn (District 1, 2 & 3).
“This year brought a lot of challenges, but I think there’s a lot of room to capitalize on what we learned in 2020,” Krusemark said. “We’re looking to the positive and think USB will come out of this even stronger.”
The newly elected USB Executive Committee includes:
• Ralph Lott II, Vice Chair — New York
• David Iverson, Secretary — South Dakota
• Meagan Kaiser, Treasurer — Missouri
• Mark Seib — Indiana
• Rochelle Krusemark — Minnesota
• Tom Oswald — Iowa
• Belinda Burrier — Maryland
• Steve Reinhard — Ohio
• Ed Lammers — Nebraska
• Jim Carroll III, Past Chair (Ex Officio) — Arkansas
In addition, three farmer-directors were elected to serve on the Strategic Management Committee:
• Philip Good — Mississippi
• Andy Fabin — Pennsylvania
• Doug Winter — Illinois
About United Soybean Board: United Soybean Board’s 78 volunteer farmer-directors work on behalf of all U.S. soybean farmers to achieve maximum value for their soy checkoff investments. These volunteers invest and leverage checkoff funds in programs and partnerships to drive soybean innovation beyond the bushel and increase preference for U.S. soy. That preference is based on U.S. soybean meal and oil quality and the sustainability of U.S. soybean farmers. As stipulated in the federal Soybean Promotion, Research, and Consumer Information Act, the USDA Agricultural Marketing Service has oversight responsibilities for USB and the soy checkoff. For more information on the United Soybean Board, visit unitedsoybean.org.