Checkoff News

United Soybean Board’s 2020 Investments Innovate Beyond the Bushel

Farmer-Leaders Convene for the Soy Checkoff’s Summer Board Meeting to Create and Enhance Partnerships and Programs that Increase the Value and Preference for U.S. Soy


FARGO, N.D. (July 18, 2019) — This week, the United Soybean Board’s 73 farmer-leaders approved promotion, marketing and research programs strategically aligned to increase the value and preference for U.S. soy to be executed by the soybean checkoff for fiscal year 2020.

That action came shortly after the U.S. Department of Agriculture announced this week that it will not conduct a referendum due to the results of a soybean request for referendum held May 6-31, 2019. The lack of requests shows overwhelming support for the Soybean Promotion and Research Order, the soy checkoff. Conducted every five years, this news affirms the checkoff’s recognized commitment to drive innovation beyond the bushel and build demand for U.S. soy both domestically and abroad.

Against the backdrop of that news, the USB farmer-leaders today approved 169 checkoff-funded projects for the 2020 fiscal year. The proposals were categorized by target areas (meal, oil and sustainability) and action teams (supply, demand and marketplace).

The proposals were evaluated by farmer-leadership, and the most strategically sound projects moved forward in USB’s value creation framework meetings. Those recommended projects were then voted on at this week’s USB meeting in Fargo, North Dakota. Amid fluctuating markets and challenging weather conditions, these projects will create opportunities to leverage checkoff resources that fulfill USB’s “Better Every Day” motto, according to checkoff directors.

“We have a charge to overcome, and — now more than ever — U.S. soybean farmers need the United Soybean Board and the soy checkoff to rise to the occasion on their behalf,” said USB Chair and Kentucky farmer Keith Tapp. “Our purpose as farmer-leaders is to tackle the task of representing more than 500,000 U.S. soybean farmers by maximizing the value of their checkoff investments, especially during these uncertain times.”

Among the new, fresh and innovative programs prioritized by USB’s farmer-leaders, included below is a preview of some of the soy checkoff’s fiscal year 2020 investments, across the target area and action team verticals.

  • Meal Supply: This includes efforts to enhance the soybean nutrition bundle and use supply research, marketing and communication to improve the nutritive value of U.S. soybeans and soybean meal. These approaches include targeting higher protein, amino acid composition, carbohydrate composition and adjustments in antinutritional factors. Desired outcomes include improved U.S. soy product quality that delivers long-term, demand-driven value and opportunities throughout the value chain. USB will invest up to $20.5 million in the Supply Action Team across meal, oil and sustainability.
  • Oil Marketplace: This includes efforts related to reputation management of U.S. soybean oil, which includes strategies to enhance consumer perceptions, support science and reclaim market share. This effort encompasses the placement of soybean-related scientific findings in accredited and peer-reviewed journals. That information will also be used as key source information for communications efforts across targeted, influential audience segments. USB will invest up to $22.5 million in the Marketplace Action Team across meal, oil and sustainability.
  • Sustainability Demand: Among other objectives, these projects will promote the overall sustainability of U.S. soy to international buyers and end users. Sustainability is a market differentiator for U.S. soy and creates market opportunities in areas such as the European Union. Through promoting U.S. soy sustainability and the U.S. Soy Sustainability Assurance Protocol (SSAP) to international markets, this sets U.S. soy apart from the competition, making it an integral part of U.S. soy customers achieving their sustainability goals for food, feed and industrial applications. USB will invest up to $32 million in the Demand Action Team across meal, oil and sustainability.

“The soy checkoff’s greatest asset is our farmer-leaders, and their program investments decided at this meeting will write a new chapter in U.S Soy’s legacy,” said Polly Ruhland, USB CEO. “Our work, defined by purpose, passion and pride, pays dividends for all soybean farmers, but our success hinges on collaboration and cooperation to move the entire soybean value chain forward.”

This week, USB also welcomed two new directors to the board including Todd Hanten from Goodwin, South Dakota, and Daniel Rajzer from Decatur, Michigan. In addition to USB, 31 Qualified State Soybean Boards (QSSBs) represent soybean farmers across the country.

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. For more information on the United Soybean Board, visit



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