BLOOMINGTON, Ill. — The Illinois Soybean Association (ISA) is returning to its roots for fiscal year 2021, putting today’s comprehensive soybean farmer needs at the center of all projects funded by the ISA checkoff program. ISA has updated its mission to uphold the interests of Illinois soybean producers through promotion, advocacy and education.
“We have adopted a new strategic plan for our board and staff to implement that can equip Illinois soybean farmers for the future. Projects will be funded in three critical areas; market development, government relations and utilization,” says Doug Schroeder, ISA president and soybean farmer from Mahomet. “We want to be a market leader in sustainable soybean production and profitability by finding ways to increase Illinois soybean demand and use.”
Within the market development area, the ISA board set two objectives. The first is to identify key existing global and domestic markets that show opportunity for substantial growth. The second is to increase the number of new global and domestic markets for Illinois soybeans.
“Market Development Committee projects are focused on moving more soybeans,” says Rick Rubenacker, committee chairperson and soybean farmer from McLeansboro. “For example, ISA continues to partner with the World Initiative for Soy in Human Health (WISHH) to develop new export markets. ISA is funding WISHH work that encourages inclusion of more U.S. soybean meal in aquaculture rations in Cambodia, which is an emerging customer for us.”
ISA is also reengaging funding for programs with the U.S. Soybean Export Council (USSEC), including building stronger relationships with Illinois soy markets in Taiwan and Indonesia.
The committee also directs ISA animal agriculture promotion projects with the U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF) and U.S.A. Poultry and Egg Export Council (USAPEEC) that lead to more demand for Illinois soybeans in feed rations. ISA is exploring ways to expand poultry production in Illinois as well. All of these efforts rely on ISA partnerships to get Illinois soybeans to market. Funded projects help ensure necessary infrastructure is optimized for efficient soy transport.
The Government Relations Committee is a new committee for FY21. Its non-checkoff program objectives are to strengthen and expand relationships with local, state and national government officials. Checkoff-funded projects will focus on advancing infrastructure and biodiesel goals.
ISA’s signature checkoff-funded initiative is to increase the use of B20 (diesel fuel blended with at least 20 percent biodiesel) in Illinois. Projects will educate key stakeholders about biodiesel’s positive impact on the environment, human health and the Illinois economy.
“This new committee will give Illinois soybean farmers a stronger voice on state and national issues,” says Ron Kindred, Government Relations Committee chairperson and soybean farmer from Atlanta. “We will be raising awareness of critical issues as we build relationships and advocate about common interests we share with the rest of the Illinois ag community.”
The Utilization Committee will put energy and funding into identifying new uses for soybeans and soy products, as well as demonstrating soybean production sustainability. Projects will look for ways to increase domestic soy biodiesel use and improve soybean productivity and quality as well as help Illinois soybean farmers implement best management practices.
“The board is currently investigating soy-based sealant and soy-based adhesive as methods to use more soy in a new market,” says Utilization Committee Chairperson David Wessel, soybean farmer from Chandlerville. “On the sustainability front, the committee will concentrate on demonstrating value by partnering with various groups that can help communicate the message.”
Wessel says ISA is partnering with Illinois Corn and Precision Conservation Management (PCM) to provide technical support to southern Illinois farmers double-cropping wheat and soybeans. ISA is funding a University of Illinois project looking at the agronomics of integrating Triple Super Phosphate (TSP) into a soybean system and potential water quality benefits.
Research into new management practices for Soybean Cyst Nematode (SCN), Red Crown Rot and Frogeye Leaf Spot will continue, along with providing the latest in agronomic information and farm business management to farmers through ILSoyAdvisor, ISA’s Agribusiness Management Program (AMP), and the Illinois Ag Education and Ag in the Classroom efforts.
The Illinois Soybean Association (ISA) checkoff and membership programs represent more than 43,000 soybean farmers in Illinois. The checkoff funds market development and utilization efforts while the membership program supports the government relations interests of Illinois soybean farmers at the local, state, and national level, through the Illinois Soybean Growers (ISG). ISA upholds the interests of Illinois soybean producers through promotion, advocacy, and education with the vision of becoming a market leader in sustainable soybean production and profitability. For more information, visit the website www.ilsoy.org.
— Illinois Soybean Association
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