I’m writing today in regard to a recent Alan Guebert column regarding the soybean checkoff. As a long-time volunteer farmer involved with the soybean checkoff I want to provide some actual facts about the checkoff.
Mr. Guebert said chekoffs are mandatory. Not quite true. Every five years soybean farmers have the opportunity to request a referendum that would take the checkoff to a vote.
In the last request for referendum less than half of one percent of farmers requested a referendum. When you combine this with surveys that show more than seven out of 10 farmers support their soybean checkoff it sounds like a pretty good approval rating to me.
Mr. Guebert failed to mention how the soybean checkoff works for farmers.
Consider this. Since the start of our national checkoff, global demand for U.S. soy has doubled from 1.5 billion bushels to 3 billion bushels.
The farmgate value of soy has increased from $10 billion in 1990 to $25 billion in 2008. Exports have tripled from 500 million bushels to 1.5 billion bushels.
Who would have done all of this without our soybean checkoff?
I don’t know about Mr. Guebert, but as a farmer I like my chances of competing in the global marketplace a lot better with the soybean checkoff backing me up than I do going it alone.
Newman Grove, Neb.