armer-leaders of the United Soybean Board (USB) announced a new strategic plan that prioritizes sustainable soy solutions for global and domestic customers while ensuring value and profitability for U.S. soybean farmers. The seating of the new Chair and Executive Committee at its December meeting included appointments of the Supply and Demand Action Team leads, Priority Area coordinators and Communication & Education Committee chair, among other key roles within the organization.
“Farmer investments this past year have fueled groundbreaking progress promoting U.S. soybeans. It’s crucial we build on that success and set a strong course for our future,” said Ralph Lott, USB Chair and farmer from Seneca Falls, New York. “We also know that, in the coming years, the soy industry will be faced with compelling opportunities and tough decisions. The new strategic plan sets a clear path to navigate what’s ahead, capturing value and increasing profits for farmers.”
The USB Strategic Plan will guide checkoff investments in research, education and promotion across three priority areas of Infrastructure & Connectivity, Health & Nutrition, and Innovation & Technology. Each area is further divided into two additional areas of focus, supply and demand, and measured by resilience, differentiation and reputation.
“These priority areas drive our strategic decisions and will focus our efforts to create the most value and positive impact for every soybean farmer,” said Lott. “For example, when it comes to infrastructure and connectivity, the checkoff will invest in projects that strengthen the road, rail, river and broadband systems that bring U.S. soybeans to market. We’ve seen this in action with the recent checkoff investment in the research, analysis and design informing the dredging of the lower Mississippi River to enhance our nation’s inland waterways. The new strategic plan will carry this work forward.”
Similarly, work in the health and nutrition priority area will improve both plant and soil health, preserving the environment, and animal and human health, delivering a more nutritious soybean to U.S. Soy customers. Investment in the innovation and technology priority area will help the checkoff discover new ways to farm while also producing and expanding market opportunities for U.S. soybeans.
To achieve results, the strategic plan includes market-focused strategies with clear plans of action. These overarching strategies include:
• Strategy 1: Enable farmer-led pathways to tighten the U.S. soybean value chain, bridging innovations across supply and demand.
• Strategy 2: Create and promote the unique identity, value and versatility of U.S. soybeans and soybean products through traditional and new opportunities.
• Strategy 3: Position and empower farmers to capture value potential.
• Strategy 4: Grow the soy checkoff as a primary industry resource and voice which is trusted, strategic and effective.
“The checkoff is committed to working on behalf of all U.S. soybean farmers, and the new strategic plan demonstrates that,” said Lott. “Launching our path into the future is powered by meaningful planning and goal setting. Our farmer-leaders did the work, and we now have a clear plan in place that shows us the best path forward. I look forward to providing sustainable soy solutions to every life, every day; it’s the reason why many of us farm and that’s to nourish our neighbors, community and the world.”
Approved at the 2021 summer meeting with unanimous support from USB’s board of directors, the Strategic Plan Task Force served a critical role in creating the plan, engaging farmer-leaders and value chain partners and ensuring it reflected the future state of the industry. Task Force members represented USB, International Flavors & Fragrances, Cargill, Hanor Company, American Soybean Association’s World Initiative for Soy in Human Health and the Missouri Soybean Merchandising Council.