Farmer-Led Soy Organizations Double Down on Collaboration
ST. LOUIS (August 16, 2018) – Working together is always important to agricultural organizations, but in today’s ever-changing climate, it’s rising to greater importance. Collaboration allows organizations like the soy checkoff to leverage checkoff investments and bring more value back to U.S. farmers. This was an important topic during the United Soybean Board (USB) Summer Meeting as the board considered its plans and investments for the upcoming fiscal year, which begins October 1.
“Soybean farmers have made significant contributions to telling the story of U.S. agriculture. Now we need to focus more closely on telling soy’s unique story to the global marketplace,” says USB CEO Polly Ruhland.
U.S. soybean farmers can be assured that their three national soybean organizations — USB, the American Soybean Association (ASA) and U.S. Soybean Export Council (USSEC) — work closely together on many issues. U.S. soy’s image has been on the mind of the soybean CEOs, who have stressed the importance of coordinating their unique roles and functions to best benefit the industry
“The soy brand has been elevated,” says ASA CEO Ryan Findlay. “Right now, media and the public in general are talking about soybeans, agriculture, and American farmers. We need to take their interest in soy as an opportunity to further enhance the perception of our versatile and vital commodity—while also protecting the economic stability and trade relationships we have worked for years to establish for our producers.”
ASA advocates for soy growers in Washington, D.C. on such important issues as Farm Bill, biodiesel, biotech labeling, and—in the news almost daily right now—trade. This works in tandem with USB’s education and outreach efforts to support a strong soy brand.
Internationally, USSEC builds the reputation of U.S. soy and will continue that work in partnership with USB, ASA and the U.S. Department of Agriculture Foreign Agriculture Service. According to USSEC CEO Jim Sutter, USSEC is focusing on connecting buyers with farmers to build that relationship and preference for U.S. soy.
USB is also looking outside of soybeans to see what other partnerships could benefit U.S. soybean farmers. The soy checkoff will partner with the National Pork Board to understand the full chain of sustainability and how U.S. soy’s sustainability impacts U.S. pork sales here in the United States and internationally. Globally, animal agriculture consumes 97 percent of all U.S. soybean meal, making animal agriculture U.S. soy’s number one customer.
“As a farmer who produces livestock and soybeans, this is exactly the type of work I want these organizations to be working together on,” says Lewis Bainbridge, USB chair and soybean farmer from South Dakota. “We know that we’re stronger together, and I’m looking forward to seeing what this increased focus on collaboration brings to the U.S. soy and agriculture industries.”
USB’s 73 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.
The American Soybean Association (ASA) represents all U.S. soybean farmers on domestic and international policy issues important to the soybean industry. ASA has 26 affiliated state associations representing 30 soybean producing states and more than 300,000 soybean farmers.
The U.S. Soybean Export Council connects U.S. soybean farmers with opportunities to improve human nutrition, livestock production and aquaculture. This mission is accomplished with a science-based technical foundation and a global network of partnerships including soybean farmers, exporters, agribusiness and agricultural organizations, researchers and government agencies. USSEC operates internationally and works with aquaculture programs in different nations to help ensure sustainability and profitability for industry producers. USSEC programs are partially funded by the United Soybean Board.
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