The nation’s soybean farmers have started sorting through projects that might receive checkoff funding.

A recent meeting of the United Soybean Board began what the group calls its Value Creation Framework process, which sets the group’s investment priorities and sorts through different projects that might receive checkoff funding.

“This is really our kickoff part where we look at it strategically,” USB Chair Dan Farney told Agri-Pulse. “We’re in the process of asking for proposals, and we’ve got about 500 different proposals we can look at.”

According to a USB release, soybean meal, oil, and sustainability were the group’s priorities for 2021. The group has pursued export opportunities for soybean meal in the current fiscal year and also pursued additional contract opportunities for high-oleic variety planting and supply and education partnerships to bolster the sustainability position of soybeans.

The proposals currently under evaluation would be funded in USB’s 2022 fiscal year, which starts Oct. 1. Separate USB subcommittees will evaluate projects, which will lead to a July vote to finalize USB’s budget for the new year.

While the COVID-19 pandemic has rocked the economy for the last year, Farney said he didn’t anticipate the virus would have much of an impact on USB’s funding decisions. He categorized many of USB’s funded projects as “pre-consumer” and said they are often done to boost demand; the Illinois farmer specifically cited yield improvement technology and research into high-oleic oil in asphalt.

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