Checkoff News

U.S. Soybean Farmers Continue to Show Strong Support for Their Checkoff

The U.S. Department of Agriculture recently announced it will not conduct a referendum
due to the results of a soybean Request for Referendum held in May.

ST. LOUIS (August 12, 2019) — With resounding support from U.S. soybean farmers for their soy checkoff, the U.S. Department of Agriculture recently announced it will not conduct a referendum, which determines if the Soybean Promotion and Research Order will continue.

This result reaffirms U.S. soybean farmers’ support for the checkoff’s commitment to drive innovation beyond the bushel and build demand for U.S. soy both domestically and abroad. USDA received 791 Request for Referendum forms, of which only 708 were valid, from Farm Service Agency offices. The 708 forms represent less than 1% (officially 0.13%) of all eligible U.S. soybean farmers. The result falls short of the 10% needed to prompt a referendum.

“These results overwhelmingly reflect the strong support and value that U.S. soybean farmers have for our soy checkoff,” says United Soybean Board Chairman and Kentucky farmer Keith Tapp. “Considering the challenges that U.S. soybean farmers must currently navigate, the outcomes of the most recent referendum reinforce the mission and importance of USB and the soy checkoff, which is to maximize profit opportunities for U.S. soybean farmers and promote the competitive advantage that represents U.S. Soy.”

If 10% of the 515,008 U.S. soybean farmers had requested a referendum, with no more than one-fifth of the 10% coming from one state, USDA would have conducted the referendum on the soy checkoff within 12 months. USDA conducts the Request for Referendum vote every five years, as required by the Soybean Promotion, Research and Consumer Information Act passed by Congress in 1991. The most recent period took place May 6-31.

USB communicated a USDA-requested notification about the Request for Referendum to national, regional and state agricultural publications, and distributed the notification to all 31 Qualified State Soybean Boards and media outlets. USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service and Farm Service Agency also distributed this information during the Request for Referendum period.

“USB will continue to make strategic investments that align with the soy checkoff’s long-term objectives as they relate to meal, oil and sustainability,” says Tapp. “Our farmer-led board is committed to make soy checkoff investments with a new and innovative approach that reflects our vision to drive innovation beyond the bushel.”

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 USB, visit


© 2019 United Soybean Board. All Rights Reserved. [3500-PS]

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