July 26, 2017

Expansion in Soybean Acres Drives Checkoff Investments

The U.S. soybean industry is turning a corner. This year, soy acres closed in on corn acres, narrowing the gap between the two crops. At the United Soybean Board’s (USB) July meeting, the booming supply of soy was a topic of discussion – as was the need for continued strong demand. Conversations shifted from increasing volume to maximizing value to set farmers up for long-term profitability.

As USDA reports a record high of 89.5 million planted acres, the farmer-leaders are investing checkoff dollars both inside the bean to improve the meal and oil, and beyond the bean to meet evolving end-user demands sustainably. Continuous improvement in U.S. soy keeps preference strong. In terms of soybean meal, the farmers discussed a growing interest in who is purchasing and using U.S. soy and how to meet their needs for a quality product through innovative research and measurement. For soybean oil, the farmers looked to leverage rapidly expanding technologies, including high oleic, and to also diversify the investment portfolio through industrial uses. The board also elevated the conversation on sustainability and tools to meet the needs of the future, including plant breeding innovations. This portfolio of investments helps to maximize farmer profit opportunities long term.

“U.S. soybean farmers and their checkoff are working toward the best of both worlds – quantity and quality,” says USB Chair John Motter. “Farmers need to be able to make decisions on not just how many acres, but what’s in those acres. We’re focused on getting more value per acre returned to farmers.”

It is a pivotal time for soybeans, and it’s also a momentous time for the soy checkoff. In addition to investing checkoff funds in research, promotion and marketing that look beyond the bushel, the farmer-leaders took this time to leverage the experience and expertise of USB Chief Executive Officer (CEO) John Becherer to make investments for the future and to position the checkoff for its next CEO. Becherer, who is set to retire at the end of 2017, was recognized for his contributions and 29-year service to the industry this week.

“Finding, launching and leveraging profit opportunities for all U.S. soybean farmers is a constantly evolving mission for USB,” Becherer says. “Checkoff investments made by U.S. soybean farmers grew the value of U.S. soy over the past 25 years through innovative investments and partnerships with industry. We look forward to continuing to do so for the next 25 years to maximize value for U.S. soy and maximize profit opportunities for U.S. soybean farmers.”

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.


Deadline for South Dakota 100, 125 and 150 Year Farm & Ranch Recognition is Aug. 11

The South Dakota Farm Bureau (SDFB) and the South Dakota Department of Agriculture (SDDA) will again recognize and honor longstanding South Dakota families at the 2017 South Dakota State Fair.

 South Dakota families having enjoyed ownership of their farm or ranch for 100, 125 and 150 years have the opportunity to be honored on Thursday, Aug. 31, during the South Dakota State Fair in Huron.
To qualify as a South Dakota Century Farm or Ranch, a family must have retained continuous ownership of at least 80 acres of original farmland for 100 years or more. If the family ownership of land has reached 125 or 150 years, they may apply to be recognized as a Quasquicentennial or Sesquicentennial Farm or Ranch respectively. Documentation of the original date of purchase must be included with the application.
Application forms are available on the SDFB website at www.sdfbf.org or by visiting the SDDA website at http://sdda.sd.gov/office-of-the-secretary/century-farms/.
Since recognition began in 1984, there have been 2,888 century farms and ranches and 323 quasquicentennial farms and ranches acknowledged so far.

House Ag Committee AUDIO – Updating Infrastructure in Rural America: Roads, Bridges, Broadband and Beyond

The House Ag Committee on Wednesday held a hearing regarding “The State of Infrastructure in Rural America.”

Upon announcing the hearing Chairman Michael Conaway (TX-11) issued the following statement:

“From broadband and transportation, to energy, water and research, public investment in infrastructure has been vital to the success and stability of our rural communities and has helped American agriculture thrive. As we seek to maintain these successes over the next century, I look forward to hearing from our witnesses about their ideas for strategic investments to grow opportunities in rural America.”

Mr. Rick Calhoun, Former President, Cargo Carriers, Cargill, Inc., Silver Spring, MD, on behalf of the National Grain and Feed Association, testified about roads and bridges.

Infrastructure Hearing 1

Mr. Curtis Wynn, President and CEO, Roanoke Electric Cooperative, Ahoskie, NC, on behalf of the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association, spoke about rural broadband.

Infrastructure Hearing 2

Ms. Jennifer L. Otwell, Vice President and General Manager, Totelcom Communications, LLC, De Leon, TX, testified on behalf of the Rural Broadband Association.

Infrastructure Hearing 3

In his opening statement, Chairman Conaway said, “Like transportation, improved communications technology remains a tremendous need in rural America. Here in this room, we take for granted the awesome power of smartphones. Universal, instantaneous access to the internet has become essential to our lives. And as communications technology races ahead, we need to ensure rural Americans are not being left behind.”