Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner

Soy checkoff grows relationships to improve soybean meal quality

In a consumer’s mind, they may not go together like peanut butter and jelly, but the relationship between soybeans and animal ag has been strong for decades. And the relationships between the checkoff and partners that help improve quality and demand are just as strong.

The checkoff has funded an array of research projects through universities and research facilities with the end goal of improving soybean meal’s nutritional bundle. Examples of this include projects at the University of Arkansas and U.S. Department of Agriculture to develop soybeans that produce better meal quality without sacrificing yield.

From customers to colleagues

The checkoff has also built partnerships with its work through the Animal Nutrition Working Group (ANWG) in order to improve the quality of soybean meal. The ANWG is a group of industry animal nutritionists who volunteer to advise the checkoff on ways to increase soybean meal utilization through improved nutrition. These nutritionists are key customers of U.S. soybean meal and provide the checkoff with valuable industry perspective on what can be done to improve the quality of U.S. soybean meal – and their demand for it.

“It’s important for the checkoff to build relationships, because we get new and diverse ideas from partners, which help us improve the quality of soybean meal,” says Mike Beard, a soy checkoff farmer-leader who leads the board’s strategy development for soybean meal and raises soybeans, corn and hogs on his farm in Indiana.

Finding value for the entire chain

Partnerships that result in higher-quality meal not only benefit U.S. soybean farmers through better demand, but animal ag as well, through a better feed ration.

“Quality is very important in the feed I give to my animals,” Beard says. “It has an effect on the animal from its rate of gain to its acceptance of the rations, to the profitability of the farmer, to the quality of the meat.”

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