ST. LOUIS — Better than seven out of every 10 U.S. soybean farmers continue to support their soybean checkoff, and more than three out of four expressed familiarity with the details and specifics of the checkoff, according to the most recent checkoff-funded producer attitudes survey.
The survey also found that support for the checkoff is uniform across the country.
“These survey numbers show the seriousness with which our dedicated volunteer checkoff farmer-leaders take their responsibilities,” said USB Chairman Chuck Myers. “The 50 percent share of national checkoff collections from upward of 600,000 soybean farmers was at just over $67 million for 2008 and anticipated at just over $64 million for 2009.
“So investing that money wisely and responsibly is our primary focus and responsibility. I think feedback such as this survey is a strong indication that farmers are comfortable with the work we’re doing on their behalf.”
The producer attitudes survey is conducted independently and is used as a method by USB directors to guide their decisions on how to invest checkoff dollars.
Participants were asked questions about a broad range of topics, including production solutions and innovations, new uses for soy, support of the U.S. animal agriculture industry, international marketing and, new to this survey, sustainability.
Among other findings of the survey:
* 86 percent said the checkoff has helped develop new uses for soy.
* 80 percent said the checkoff has helped expand or develop new international markets for soy.
* 73 percent said the checkoff has helped develop advances or improvements in production techniques.
* 64 percent say they remember receiving Beyond the Bean magazine, a 20-point jump since 2006. Of those who recall receiving the magazine, 76 percent said the articles found there are at least as helpful as, if not more helpful than, articles found in other agriculture-related publications.
* 58 percent said they’ve made changes to their farm to make it more sustainable.
“It’s reassuring to know that all of our fellow soybean farmers, including ASA members, believe we’re acting in their best interest,” Myers said. “Ultimately, all of our funding decisions have to pass muster with every soybean farmer, not just the 68 soybean farmers who are members of the board.”
USB is made up of 68 farmer-directors who oversee the investments of the soybean checkoff on behalf of all U.S. soybean farmers. Checkoff funds are invested in the areas of animal utilization, human utilization, industrial utilization, industry relations, market access and supply.
As stipulated in the Soybean Promotion, Research and Consumer Information Act, USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service has oversight responsibilities for USB and the soybean checkoff.