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Checkoff Elevates Value of Farmer Investments Through Soy Hopper
Illinois Ag Connection - 09/23/2021

Through their checkoff, U.S. soybean farmers drive innovation beyond the bushel, improve sustainability, create new export markets and deliver a better product to meet end-user needs. That strategic drive and investment is paying off, bringing profits back to the men and women who grow soybeans across the country.

"Through your dollars invested in the soy checkoff, you are accomplishing big things for this extremely versatile commodity," said Dan Farney, United Soybean Board chair and soybean farmer from Morton, Ill. "Our checkoff continues to lead the way by investing in promotion, research, partnerships and education. Those investments differentiate U.S. soy through quality and sustainability, ultimately bringing value to every U.S. soybean farmer."

But connecting farmers to their checkoff investment isn't always a simple task.

"Farmers are busy farming," said Farney. "This is why it's crucial we proactively connect them to their checkoff in new ways, so they feel confident knowing their dollars are returning value to the farm."

A new educational effort from the checkoff is doing that -- connecting farmers to their investments -- so they can see, in real time, how the 78 volunteer farmer-directors who represent them on the national checkoff board continue to build U.S. soy's reputation across the globe.

Farmers can explore the Soy Hopper, a digital hub with shareable content highlighting results of checkoff investments across market growth, production research and more. Additionally, farmers can subscribe to receive a monthly update about how their checkoff dollars bring a $12.34 return on investment back to the farm by driving demand and preference for U.S. soy.

"The soy checkoff was created by farmers, is run by farmers and serves farmers," said George Harper, USB director of investor and industry communications who leads the Soy Hopper digital hub. "Farmers contribute their own dollars to the checkoff, and those dollars work to build domestic and global soy demand in animal agriculture, biofuels and other industries that depend on sustainable U.S. soy."

Through a new "Moving (YOU) Forward" checkoff campaign, farmers can see examples of major demand opportunities for U.S. soybeans.

For example, in export markets, soybean sales to Egypt have increased exponentially by 708%. Furthermore, the U.S. soybean industry is expected to export a record $28.9 billion of soy to markets around the globe this fiscal year.

"These checkoff successes highlight the fact that when farmers pool their resources through a checkoff program, they see significant and measurable returns," said Harper.

Significant checkoff successes include:

- Soybean meal is the No. 1 protein source in chicken feed because few feed ingredients can match the nutritional composition of soybeans.

- A soy checkoff research partnership with The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company has led to a multi-decade commitment by Goodyear to source sustainably produced soybean oil for its tires, with a long-term goal of full petroleum oil replacement in all company products by 2040.

- Demand for soybean oil to produce biodiesel has increased farmer income by 63 cents a bushel.

- One of the soy checkoff's greatest research successes was assisting in sequencing the soybean genome. This research helped speed up the identification of new, valuable genes that protect and increase yields.

- A $2 million checkoff investment opened the door to a $245 million investment from the federal government and the state of Louisiana to dredge the lower Mississippi River, which will allow more soy to be carried per ship. This project will bring an estimated additional $460 million in revenue to U.S. soybean farmers.

"These successes can all be directly attributed to the personal investments that you, our farmers, make in your checkoff every harvest. And that translates into the competitiveness and longevity that powers U.S. soybeans now and decades ahead," said Farney.


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