A Farmer’s Perspective on Capturing Value From a Commodity System

Adding value to his farm is nothing new for soy checkoff farmer-leader Dan Corcoran. He’s been doing it for years. His Certified Angus Beef operation helps him promote specific attributes of his beef cattle and sell them for a value-added price. Now, Dan leads the United Soybean Board’s Value Task Force, which is looking at whether U.S. soybean farmers could also sell their product for what’s inside.

Q: Can you tell me a little about your operation?

A: We’ve always had cattle. We added a feedlot business and source our own feed to add value to what had been cheap corn at the time. We originally raised beef for the packers, and then became a Certified Angus Beef operation.

Q: What does Certified Angus Beef mean for your farm?

A: Our cattle must contain 40 percent choice grade and have a black hide. The packers grade and verify our herd meets standards yearly. We get paid a premium on everything that meets that standard.

Q: What if soybean farmers could get paid on individual soybean loads like your cattle?

A: The checkoff looks at what’s coming down the pipeline, including different oils or different meal profiles, and the potential benefits for farmers. What if they could market a specific type of oil or meal? There’s value in knowing what is in soy’s different components.

Q: Could farmers and others benefit from a system like this?

A: We definitely could if we look at our crop as more than just a soybean. The components make the value. Customers could buy soy based on the qualities they need to make their operations more efficient. We could offer them a more consistent product and add value to their businesses as well as ours.