The 70 soybean farmers who make up the national soybean checkoff gathered Wednesday morning in St. Louis to kick off their annual planning cycle.
The United Soybean Board (USB) also uses its annual winter meeting to swear in new farmers appointed by the U.S. agriculture secretary to three-year terms on the board. The board directs how national soybean-checkoff funds are allocated, among other responsibilities.
Farmer-directors with USB allocated $92.3 million in projects during the fiscal year ending Sept. 30, 2016, says Delbert Christensen, USB treasurer and an Iowa farmer. They have allocated $86.6 million for the current fiscal year, a dip that reflects lower soybean prices. All U.S. soybean farmers pay one-half of 1% of the sale of their soybeans to the checkoff program. Half of funds stay in their respective states, and half go to USB.
Projects on USB’s list include development of high-oleic soybean production in the U.S. and finding new ways to add value to U.S soybean meal in the years ahead. They reflect USB’s goal of distinguishing U.S. soybeans from those produced in other countries around the globe.
“It’s not just about bushels, it’s about creating value for those bushels,” USB Chairman Jared Hagert, a North Dakota farmer, told the board.