By Jared Hagert, Chair of the United Soybean Board. Farmer from Emerado, North Dakota.

One generation ago, in 1991, U.S. soybean farmers came together to create an organization to improve our industry. The idea was if soybean farmers focused available resources, we could accomplish great things. This idea – thanks to an act of Congress – became the United Soybean Board (USB), which is recognizing its 25th anniversary this year.

This occasion has allowed us, the volunteer farmer-leaders of the soy checkoff, the opportunity to step back, recognize our successes and take a focused look forward at where the greatest possibilities lie for U.S. soybean farmers.

USB’s mission remains the same—improving profit opportunities for all U.S. soybean farmers. Over the past 25 years we’ve seen a lot of changes in our market, and USB has identified the core areas for immediate opportunities for U.S. soybeans within that market and our value chain. We are challenging ourselves with a constant focus of innovation to improve meal and oil along with our sustainability. This type of forward thinking is going to give us a global market edge.

We’re also doubling down on our vision – driving soybean innovation beyond the bushel. This means we are looking beyond just bushel gains and into new ways to capture value on behalf of our fellow farmers. Because we understand that if we are going to improve soybeans and practices to grow them, we have to make sure that the market values our soybeans and the solutions that we are providing our end users.

It’s going to take calculated risk and bold thinking to evolve our value chain. We need to partner with the industry to provide varieties that yield, not only in terms of bushels per acre but in pounds of protein and pounds of oil per acre. Our end users want soybeans that are sustainably produced and provide high quality protein and oil. We need processors to clearly value these varieties and to be transparent in how they value them so farmers are motivated to grow what the end user desires. Through all of this, we need to be demonstrating to these value chain partners how they can win as well.

We believe that USB is well positioned to be a catalyst to spark these changes and push our industry forward. We can bring forward investments to accelerate programs that benefit the entire soybean industry, but always with the U.S. soybean farmer’s benefit top of mind.

It’s hard to know for sure exactly what we will be celebrating as biggest and best accomplishments another 25 years from now, but we believe we are putting the U.S. soybean industry on a path for the next generation of greatness.

About the Author: Jared Hagert, Chair of the United Soybean Board. Farmer from Emerado, North Dakota.


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