The United Soybean Board and soybean checkoff swore in Robert Derr, a soybean farmer from Marshall, Wis., and Nancy Kavazanjian, a soybean grower from Beaver Dam, Wis., among 15 new checkoff farmer-leaders at its recent annual meeting. Appointed by U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack, Derr and Kavazanjian now begin working to improve on-farm profit potential for not only soybean farmers in Wisconsin, but also for all U.S. soybean farmers.
"Since I practice no-till farming, I'd like to focus on sustainability," said Derr, who, in addition to soybeans, grows corn and wheat. "I also would like to see the checkoff look to grow the biofuels market."
The 15 new appointees join 54 existing or returning farmer-leaders in volunteering their time to administer all U.S. soybean farmers' checkoff investments. USB invests checkoff funds in research and promotion programs aimed at helping increase profit opportunities for all U.S. soybean farmers.
"I'm looking forward to getting involved in the industry," said Kavazanjian, who, in addition to soybeans, grows corn and wheat, "and to understanding better what the issues and challenges are that the industry as a whole is dealing with and how they will face those challenges."
Derr and Kavazanjian, nominated by the Wisconsin Soybean Marketing Board, succeed Vicki Coughlin, of Watertown, and Chuck Prellwitz, of Ripon, in representing Wisconsin on the board.
USB is made up of 69 farmer-directors who oversee the investments of the soybean checkoff on behalf of all U.S. soybean farmers. Checkoff funds are invested in the areas of animal utilization, human utilization, industrial utilization, industry relations, market access and supply. As stipulated in the Soybean Promotion, Research and Consumer Information Act, USDA's Agricultural Marketing Service has oversight responsibilities for USB and the soybean checkoff.