The United Soybean Board farmer-leaders elected Dan Farney from Morton, Ill., as the 2021 chair and 10 other farmer-leaders to serve on the executive committee of USB at its annual meeting this week. In addition, 19 directors were sworn in for new terms by USDA earlier this year.

Despite all of the challenges confronting farmers in 2020, Farney believes the 78-member board has done a “great job in promoting soybeans and finding new uses for soybeans.

“To me, it's all about creating demand and moving soybeans. When demand materializes, and prices get better, everybody's happier,” he told Agri-Pulse in an interview. This ranges from developing new customers abroad to building demand domestically through animal agriculture, human consumption, biodiesel and industrial uses for over 1,000 products on the market, Farney said.

This summer, USB approved 176 checkoff-funded projects for the 2021 fiscal year and continues to focus on three priority areas for investment: meal, oil and sustainability.

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During this week’s board meeting and strategy sessions, USB directors considered market impacts and challenges in 2020 as well as opportunities that will affect soybean value into 2021. For USB’s in 2021, the checkoff board will invest:

  • Up to $15.4 million in the Supply Action Team across meal, oil and sustainability.
  • Up to $18.6 million in the Marketplace Action Team across meal, oil and sustainability.
  • Up to $34.3 million in the Demand Action Team across meal, oil and sustainability.

Farney said highlights from 2020 included checkoff-funded research, planning, analysis and design to inform the dredging of the lower Mississippi River and opening new export channels for U.S. soybeans.

Demand was driven domestically with large companies such as Skechers and Goodyear committing to using more U.S. soybean oil than ever in their products. And companies creating new products in infrastructure, including soy-based asphalt and a soy oil-based concrete enhancer, took key steps to reach widespread adoption and use on roadways and bridges.

“It’s been a difficult year in many ways, but soybean farmers have never strayed from their goal of providing a high-quality product to customers,” USB Past Chair Jim Carroll III said in a release. “I couldn’t be more pleased with the work of our checkoff this past year in adapting during the pandemic to reach end users and maximize profit opportunities in new and innovative ways.”

The newly elected USB Executive Committee includes:

  • Ralph Lott II, Vice Chair — New York
  • David Iverson, Secretary — South Dakota
  • Meagan Kaiser, Treasurer — Missouri
  • Mark Seib — Indiana
  • Rochelle Krusemark — Minnesota
  • Tom Oswald — Iowa
  • Belinda Burrier — Maryland
  • Steve Reinhard — Ohio
  • Ed Lammers — Nebraska
  • Jim Carroll III, Past Chair (Ex Officio) — Arkansas

In addition, three farmer-directors were elected to serve on the Strategic Management Committee:

  • Philip Good — Mississippi
  • Andy Fabin — Pennsylvania
  • Doug Winter — Illinois

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