United Soybean Board leaders meet virtually to set 2022 investment directions

The 78 farmer-directors serving on the United Soybean Board met virtually on Feb. 17 to define strategies and goals to strengthen soy’s position in the U.S. and global marketplaces for the checkoff’s next year of investments related to soybean meal, oil and sustainability.

“We all look forward to meeting in person hopefully in the coming months once conditions merit doing it safely,” said Dan Farney, USB chair and soybean farmer from Morton, Ill. “Until then, the Executive Committee and directors will continue our roles as stewards of the soybean checkoff program, meeting virtually to make decisions committed to research, promotion and education that serve to benefit the more than 515,000 U.S. soybean farmers.”

USB’s financial stewardship and program development responsibilities include investing in projects to promote the sustainability of U.S. soy as a market differentiator domestically and to build new markets abroad. In addition, the soy checkoff funds education to enhance end-user awareness of soy products as well as research to strengthen the resilience of soybean production, improve meal quality and develop new uses for soybean oil.

Early highlights for fiscal year 2021 investments to date for meal, oil and sustainability included:

Meal: Market promotion efforts conducted by the soybean industry’s international market-building organizations have all successfully transitioned to a virtual format with record audiences in attendance. Nutrition research continues to create opportunities for soy, including product differentiation in the marketplace around factors such as meal quality (amino acids and energy) with key partners.

Oil: Opportunities continue to expand for soybean oil. High oleic variety planting contract opportunities continue to increase to meet demand for refined high oleic oils by end users in the food sector. Innovations for industrial uses include motor oil and asphalt.

Sustainability: Supply partnerships and education initiatives advance in collaboration with regional soybean research boards and extension education efforts. USB’s partnerships are well-positioned to increase understanding and adoption of sustainable soil practices, ultimately leading to carbon neutrality and consumer benefits.

Prior to the meeting, as part of the soy checkoff’s Value Creation Framework process, USB farmer-leaders convened with their assigned Target Area Work Groups. The groups discussed insights and context to inform the strategic approach to accomplish the checkoff’s objectives in FY22. Direction from the work groups defines the areas of greatest importance to guide future investments.

“Farmer-leaders determine investments to positively impact key audiences related to supply, marketplace and demand,” said USB Strategic Management Committee Chair Jim Carroll III and soybean farmer from Brinkley, Ark. “In the months ahead, we look forward to reviewing a variety of project proposals that increase the preference for U.S. soy but also bring value to our farmers’ bottom line.”

Nearly 500 proposals were submitted across the three target areas to achieve checkoff objectives in research, education and promotion. The shared goal of all selected proposals is to strengthen U.S. soy’s reputation and competitive advantage when it comes to nutrition, quality and sustainability.

Between now and USB’s next meeting in July, checkoff farmer-leaders will review proposals in detail to determine strategic fit ahead of making their final FY22 project portfolio recommendations.

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.

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