December 08, 2022

USB invests to drive soybean demand

KALAMAZOO, Mich. — The farmer-leaders of the United Soybean Board convened for its summer board meeting July 26-27 to approve a 2023 fiscal year budget of $123 million for program work, starting Oct. 1, 2022.

Spanning eight portfolios, these investments in research, education and promotion add value to U.S. soybeans with the goal to build resilience, differentiation and reputation.

This portfolio ladders up to USB’s new vision of delivering sustainable soy solutions to every life, every day.

Investment portfolios will continue the board’s work of creating consistent, long-term domestic and global market opportunities to further demand for U.S.-grown soybeans.

“Our thinking, planning and work as a board has become a much more deliberate and idea-driven process, challenging our board members to think big. Each portfolio is farmer-directed and works together to create demand for U.S. soybeans across the entire global soy value chain,” said Ralph Lott, USB chair and farmer from New York.

“We’ve successfully shifted from project takers to portfolio makers, and the end result is more strategic thinking. The preference for U.S. soybeans grows while farmers continue to see strong ROI on their checkoff dollars.”

Investment portfolios are approved by the full board and consist of programs across Supply and Demand Action Teams driven by the three priority areas of innovation and technology, health and nutrition, and infrastructure and connectivity.

Fiscal year 2023 programs impact everything from improving production on the farm to expanding markets across animal agriculture, soy foods and providing a renewable alternative for biofuels and nonfood uses. Some examples of these soy checkoff investments aim to:

• Enhance soybean cropping system improvement that creates opportunities to reward and support farmers and other value chain participants, including the growth of high oleic soybean production to meet demand for specialty soybeans while providing a farmer premium.

• Further soy’s role in the evolving clean energy movement, with investments that support using soybean oil as a feedstock for biodiesel and renewable diesel in marine, rail and on-road applications. Biofuels are the largest industrial use for soybean oil and require investments to reach maximum potential.

• Develop nutrition and health research that distinguishes U.S. soybean meal’s value drivers, amino acids and energy, supports animal health, builds evidence that discerns U.S. soybean meal from the competition and strengthens key industry partnerships.

• Encourage commodity partnerships to improve soil health, collaborating with National Corn Growers Association and National Pork Board to implement cover crops on 30 million acres of soybeans and corn by 2030, focused on meeting sustainability goals while improving farmer productivity.

• Grow exports in more than 80 countries through the U.S. Soybean Export Council’s strategy to differentiate U.S. soybeans in the global marketplace. USB also partners with the U.S. Meat Export Federation and the USA Poultry and Egg Export Council to promote exports of soy-fed meat, as well as the American Soybean Association’s World Initiative for Soy in Human Health to create long-term demand for U.S. soybeans in developing and emerging markets and improve food security.

• Improve best management practices through partnerships that lead to faster, real-time dissemination of pest and disease research findings, such as developing a pesticide and fungicide calculation tool that helps farmers determine regional application thresholds to maximize yield potential.

• Increase focus on fertilizers and biologicals that support farmers and farming system resilience in an uncertain crop input market environment.

• Reach key audiences to elevate the reputation of U.S. soybeans, expanding trust with consumers and helping them develop a deeper understanding and appreciation for how U.S. soybean farmers can deliver sustainable solutions for more than 1,000 renewable products on the market.

“Over the past year, we’ve changed the way we make investment decisions. The new Value Alignment Committee gives farmer-leaders more input in the types of programs the checkoff supports. Today marks the culmination of that new process,” said Meagan Kaiser, USB vice chair and Missouri farmer.

“This is a new, exciting direction, and we couldn’t be successful without our state and national farmer volunteers and checkoff partners who work diligently on behalf of the 515,000 U.S. soybean farmers. I also want to extend thanks to the Michigan Soybean Committee for hosting this memorable meeting and showcasing the diversity of Michigan agriculture.”