The forecast is for soybean prices to be down for the 2015 and 2016 growing season. This will reduce revenue for the soybean checkoff. United Soybean Board farmer leaders gathered in Georgia this week to do some strategic planning and to set priorities and budgets for the coming year. Clinton County soybean producer Mike Beard said they are making plans to manage a tighter budget, “We are forecasting revenue to be off about 10% to 15% next year. We feel very comfortable that we will be able to manage this shortfall.” Beard says, by engaging in partnerships and collaborating with other organizations, the programs of the soybean checkoff should not be affected.
One of the top priorities for the checkoff is funding research to improve the quality of US soybean meal. “They call the soybean an oil seed but really only about 19% of the soybean is oil, the rest is carbohydrates and protein,” said Beard. “We see soybeans as having a real opportunity as a protein source for animal agriculture both domestically and throughout the world.”
Beard added that, with a growing middle class in Asia, world demand for protein to produce meat will continue to increase, “And if we can do anything to enhance the makeup of that meal, to make it an even better feed than it is today, we are going to take a look at that.” He said biotechnology may provide an opportunity for US soybean growers to improve the quality of US soy meal.
Other checkoff priorities include continued research on new uses for soybeans, including plastics and other industrial products. This meeting also involved setting strategic priorities in each of the four target areas: Communications, Domestic Opportunities, International Opportunities, and Supply.