USB leads soy industry effort, elects new leaders
The United Soybean Board and soybean checkoff prepare to head into the new year with a new executive committee, led by newly elected USB Chairman Marc Curtis, a checkoff farmer-leader from Leland, Miss. Curtis, along with the other 68 volunteer farmer-directors, will begin reviewing priority issues established by representatives of the entire U.S. soybean industry at the recent CONNECTIONS meeting. These issues will be considered in the long-range planning process of the board.
Curtis has been a checkoff farmer-leader since 2005, serving as USB vice chairman, treasurer, chair of the USB Global Opportunities Program and member of the Production Research program, among other positions.
"I'm honored to have been selected by my fellow soybean farmers to serve as USB chairman," says Curtis. "And I look forward to cooperating with the rest of the industry to continue the work of the checkoff especially to increase U.S. soy exports."
Other members of the executive committee include:
--Vanessa Kummer, Colfax, N.D., vice chairperson;
--Sharon Covert, Tiskilwa, Ill., secretary;
--Jim Stillman, Emmetsburg, Iowa, treasurer;
--Jason Bean, Holcomb, Mo., production research chair;
--Jim Call, Madison, Minn., international marketing chair;
--Russ Carpenter, Trumansburg, N.Y., communications chair;
--Bob Haselwood, Berryton, Kan., new uses chair;
--Jim Schriver, Montpelier, Ind., domestic marketing chair; and
--Rick Stern, Cream Ridge, N.J, audit and evaluation chair.
This group's extensive experience will guide USB toward working on a plan that will be shared with the industry to further cooperation amongst the full value chain. During the meeting the board approved the creation of a special initiative to help develop aquaculture. This growing industry has the potential to use millions of bushels of U.S. soy in the future.
Before the annual meeting, USB directors participated in CONNECTIONS 2010, a gathering of researchers, agribusinesses, farmers, exporters, processors and others who make up the U.S. soy industry to determine priority areas for the U.S. soy industry over the next five to 10 years. USB directors will use these outcomes to guide the board in revising its long-range strategic plan and determining the board's priority issues.
"CONNECTIONS helps the industry as we farmers look at ways to cooperate with agribusinesses and others in the U.S. soy value chain," adds Curtis, who also served as the 2010 CONNECTIONS chair. "One segment of the U.S. ag industry can't be successful if another part of the industry suffers. We're all in it together."
The entire industry will continue to work together to leverage partnerships to benefit all sectors of the U.S. soybean industry. Focusing on these goals through their respective areas will help to make strides in efforts to improve U.S. soybean meal and oil, solving challenges in distribution channels used to transport U.S. soy, and in ensuring U.S. soybean farmers maintain the freedom to operate.
USB is made up of 69 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.