When it comes to buzzwords, sustainability is one that U.S. soybean farmers believe has staying power. It's so important, in fact, that the United Soybean Board (USB) and soy checkoff recently joined other U.S. soybean organizations in supporting a pledge and set of data that demonstrate U.S. soybean farmers continue to improve their sustainability performance. These organizations will use this pledge and data to help increase sales of U.S. soy among customers that demand sustainably sourced ingredients.
"Instead of a certification process for individual U.S. soybean farmers, we are recommending an aggregate approach, in which the data show the environmental, economic and societal benefits of U.S. soybean production," says Jim Call, soybean farmer from Madison, Minn. and USB secretary. "This pledge will be the commitment by the entire U.S. soy industry that we, as farmers, are sustainable."
At their most recent meeting, the soy checkoff recently joined the American Soybean Association and state checkoff boards in further committing the U.S. soy industry to sustainability. The United Soybean Export Council Board is expected to take similar formal action in the next few weeks.
"Our customers, the end-users, want to use products that are sustainable, and it is our responsibility to provide them," adds Call. "Within the pledge, we share data that shows our decreasing use of inputs and the increasing use of conservation practices by U.S. soybean farmers."
Also during the meeting, checkoff farmer-leaders adopted a series of recommendations to finish implementing USB's new operating structure. As part of one of these recommendations, USB Chair Vanessa Kummer appointed a Strategic Management Committee, which will ensure all checkoff-funded projects contribute toward meeting the checkoff's long-range strategic plan.
Kummer appointed farmer-leaders Dwain Ford, Kinmundy, Ill.; Richard Fordyce, Bethany, Mo.; and Nancy Kavazanjian, Beaver Dam, Wis., to join USB Vice Chair Jim Stillman, Emmetsburg, Iowa; and immediate past chair Marc Curtis, Leland, Miss., to the committee.
The 69 farmer-directors of USB oversee the investments of the soy checkoff to maximize profit opportunities for all U.S. soybean farmers. These volunteers invest and leverage checkoff funds to increase the value of U.S. soy meal and oil, to ensure U.S. soybean farmers and their customers have the freedom and infrastructure to operate, and to meet the needs of U.S. soy's customers. 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.
Source: Unite Soybean Board