United Soybean Board Director at NFMS

Winters USBThe Kentucky Soybean Board had a booth at the National Farm Machinery Show last week and I had the opportunity to stop by and visit with Doug Winter, a Kentucky grower who serves as a director on the United Soybean Board (USB). 

Winters has been busy with his role on the board for the Center of Food Integrity and his work as the International Lead with the Freedom to Operate Group at USB.

I asked him about the report from USDA last week that farm income is expected to be down 26% in 2014. “I think the American farmer will have to sharpen his pencil a little bit more this year” said Winter. “After you have ridden the roller coaster a few times you start to realize you cannot put too much stock in $16 corn and $8 soybeans, because it will change.”

Listen to my interview with Doug here: Interview with Doug Winter, United Soybean Board

National Farm Machinery Show Photo Album

Coverage of the National Farm Machinery Show is sponsored by FMC and New Holland Agriculture


Truth Behind the Star of Every Big Game – BACON

As millions of Americans gather around their televisions on the first Sunday in February, there’s one star that’s already a winner even before the kickoff. Whether it’s a main ingredient, an appetizer or simply a garnish, bacon is the standout star of any dish. But, there’s a side of the bacon story that most Americans aren’t so familiar with.

Just like a conditioned star athlete, a lot of hard work, dedication and countless hours go into making sure the bacon found in fan-favorite recipes is top quality.

Modern animal housing provides a well ventilated, warm (a must-have for those cold, snowy days) and clean home where the pigs receive a diet that meets their specific nutritional needs. And these are just a few of the ways that pig farmers across the country are dedicated to making sure the bacon on your table, and theirs, is a top pick.

“Our pigs are our highest priority on our farm,” says Jennifer Debnam, a pig farmer from Kennedyville, Md. “We constantly have to be at the top of our game, using the latest technologies and advancements in animal health. No matter the weather, time of day or time of year, we make sure that our pigs are healthy and well taken care of – not only for the well-being of the pig, but so that you never have to worry about bacon being available at the grocery store.”

This video from the United Soybean Board, titled “The Truth Behind Bacon,” shows that from the farm field to the football field, hard work is part of the recipe to bring home a winner.

United Soybean Board Tackles Weed Resistance

Bob HaselwoodBob Haselwood, Kansas soybean farmer, is the Vice Chairman of the United Soybean Board (USB) and Chuck met up with him during the 2014 American Farm Bureau Federation (AFBF) Convention to see what we can see from USB in the upcoming year.

Bob shared that their main focus during AFBF is to talk with farmers about weed resistance. USB recently helped fund a joint project working with 16 state universities to increase education and communication with farmers about weed resistance.

“Today we have charts on the different chemicals and how they relate to one another. We also want to make sure they are using the right rate at the right time. We are trying to take a proactive stance over weed resistance.”

USB is staying on top of the use of technology and has launched www.TakeActionOnWeeds.com. Growers can utilize this quick reference point on their phones, tablets and computers.

Looking into the future Bob says he is optimistic about the 2014 soybean crop. He also discussed their support of the bio-diesel industry.

You can listen to my interview with Bob here or watch it below: Interview with Bob Haselwood

2014 AFBF Convention Photos

USB Honored with “Eye on Biodiesel” Award

NBB Influncer Award to USBThe 10th Annual National Biodiesel Board Conference: Momentum, was a huge success last week as the biodiesel industry celebrated the great things that have occurred during the past 20 years in Las Vegas. The session focused on the both the history and future of biodiesel and included the announcement of several “Eye on Biodiesel” awards.

The winner of the “Influencer” category was the United Soybean Board (USB) who helped to make the success of the industry possible through its leadership and financial commitment through the soybean checkoff dating back to 1992. NBB’s CEO Joe Jobe noted that their continued support is instrumental in the growth of the biodiesel industry.

“Biodiesel, America’s advanced biofuel, would not be what it is today without champions and supporters like these Eye on Biodiesel honorees,” said Joe Jobe, CEO of the National Biodiesel Board. “It is very fitting that as we reflect on 20 years of our industry that we honor our past and the enormous impact these biodiesel pioneers had on the early development of the biodiesel industry. We did our homework, and then some, to make sure biodiesel would be received as a technically credible fuel and that is a process that continues today.”

Listen to my interview with Jim Stillman, Vice Chair of USB who accepted the award on the organization’s behalf: USB's Eye on Biodiesel

2013 National Biodiesel Conference Photo Album

New ‘Extreme Beans’ App

Ever wonder whether it’s worth it to apply a fungicide? How about the most cost-effective seeding rate? The national soy checkoff has put that information in the palm of your hand.

A new app developed by the United Soybean Board includes two calculators that help farmers plan for their next crop. One helps users determine whether the yield benefits of various input combinations justify the costs. The other uses the main maturity rates for a farmer’s region, the cost of soybean seed and an estimated price of the soybeans at the time of sale to determine an optimal seeding rate based on a percentage of return.

The app also includes documents and videos that describe the research behind each tool.

The Extreme Beans app is available for Apple iPhone and Android-enabled smartphones and other devices. Farmers can easily find it in their device’s app store by simply searching by the title.

USB Ensures Safe, Sustainable & Secure Food Supply

The 2012 Trade Talk during the National Association of Farm Broadcasting’s annual convention served as another successful opportunity for agriculture organizations to share what they are doing to serve their customers and the consumer.

An example of this was when I sat down with Bob Haselwood, Treasurer for the United Soybean Board and Kansas crop farmer, at the recent event. Bob shared with me how USB is working to ensure that the U.S. soy industry and its customers have the freedom and infrastructure to operate. He also discussed ways they are helping fund educational endeavors to stimulate the conversation about agriculture.

“The United Soybean Board wants to help increase the profitability for soybean farmers. We’ve got several key areas we work in based on our long-term strategic plan and that is we want to work in meal, oil, customer focus and freedom to operate.”

“One of the big things we do is help fund United States Farmers & Ranchers Alliance. Several organizations are big in that and we are one of the big sponsors of that. USFRA is one way to get dialogue started with consumer groups so we can get our story across and show we do have a safe, sustainable and secure food supply.”

Listen to my interview with Bob here: Bob Haselwood - USB

2012 NAFB Convention Photo Album

Soybean Board, Goodyear Partner for Green Tires

The United Soybean Board (USB) and Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. Goodyear have partnered to develop and test a new tire featuring U.S. soy. The announcement comes as they celebrate two years of collaboration. During the recent USB Biobased Products Stakeholders Workshop in Dearborn, Michigan, Goodyear showed its support for soy-based products by flying the blimp over the event with a special greeting for soy.

A news release from the USB says the new tire could offer consumers more tread life and a greener alternative to tires made with non-renewable petroleum.

“The soy checkoff welcomes the opportunity to partner with Goodyear in bringing this tire to the market,” says Russ Carpenter, a soybean farmer from Trumansburg, N.Y. and chair of the USB New Uses program.

Testing at Goodyear found that the more environmentally friendly tires could last 10 percent longer than tires made with petrochemicals. The company also believes it could use 7 million gallons of soy oil annually.

“Goodyear is committed to caring for the environment and communities, and use of soy oil proves to be another way to accomplish this goal,” said Jean-Claude Kihn, Goodyear’s chief technical officer.

The soy-based tires could be available for sale in 2015.

EcoTek Highlights Young Scientists at USB Event

A group of young scientists got to show off what they have learned in their lab during the recent USB Biobased Products Stakeholders Workshop in Dearborn, Michigan. “My focus is on innovation and how to use science as a way of improving society,” explained Keith Young, the founder of EcoTek Lab… a Detroit-based program for students from 2nd grade through high school. Young started the project back in 2005 and has 30 students in his current program with connections to 1,500 more through partner schools.

Young says they are working on projects as varied as bio-plastics to biofuels to growing stem cells in the laboratory. Ecotek starts with an understanding of international policy, focusing on the United Nation’s Millennium Goals. “There’s those eight goals the world has to solve by 2015, and one of those goals deals with sustainability,” adding that he brought the students to this USB event so they better understand the time it takes and the payoff at the end of research. “It makes it easier for me to explain the benefits and opportunities down the road.”

Young also points out that the Ecotek program has a practical side of making sure the students understand that there is a tie to value creation. “Making sure they understand innovation really ensures that they understand that value creation is necessary and is tied to the sciences. The more you know, the more you control.”

You can hear more of Cindy’s interview with Keith here: Keith Young, Founder of Ecotek Lab

And you can see a video of the students’ bio-plastic and here some of them explain how it works here: Ecotek Lab Students Explaining Bio-plastic

Check out the photo album below and the SoyBiobased.org website as well.

2012 USB Biobased Products Stakeholders Workshop Photos

Ford Works with USB to Develop Soy-based Materials

Ford Motor Company is working with the United Soybean Board to help research, develop and implement soybean-based materials into their products to take the place of petroleum-based materials and improve the sustainability footprint of their operations. At the recent USB Biobased Products Stakeholders Workshop in Dearborn, Michigan, Deb Mielewski, Technical Leader of Plastics Research at Ford, talked about the development of biobased foam being used in every Ford vehicle manufactured in North America. “Automotive foam has to have fantastic compression. It has to rebound back in the field for 15 years under heat and humidity,” she explained.

Mielewski credits Ford’s work with the USB that started about 10 years ago that has helped the company perfect the foam and make other products, including many of the plastics in vehicles, from soybeans. “We have received [about] seven grants from the USB, so it’s been a really strong partnership,” she says. And she’s been pleasantly surprised by how much the board has helped in some of the issues during development. “When we had technical issues, we would come to the table with USB representatives, and they knew more about their crop, [so] they could help us get past those technical hurdles.”

During the workshop, U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack and Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) even got the chance to make some of the soy-based foam. “That was the first time we actually had someone else make the foam, so we were really excited about it,” Mielewski said.

You can hear more of Cindy’s interview with Deb here: Deb Mielewski, Technical Leader of Plastics Research at Ford

Check out the photo album below and the SoyBiobased.org website as well.

2012 USB Biobased Products Stakeholders Workshop Photos

Soybeans Used for Tractors Now… and Back Then

Attendees at the USB Biobased Products Stakeholders Workshop this week in Dearborn, Michigan got a chance to step back in history. Antique Ford tractor collector Dave Schafer showed off his pair of 1939 Ford 9Ns, one that was given to his father by Henry Ford himself! “My father worked for Henry Ford as a tractor demonstrator,” Schafer explains. “The day that my dad was driving that tractor, that 179, was the day I was born, and Henry Ford gave him that tractor that day.” The other tractor was built the very last day of production for the 1939 model, so Schafer has the very first and last Ford 9Ns built in 1939.

While these days, we hear a lot about using soybean-based biodiesel in farm equipment, Schafer points out that the beans were also used for other parts way back when. “The tractor I have, the very first one, that had a soybean seat made on it in 1939,” he says. “Ford was already using soybeans to make the seats, steering wheels. They also used it on all the knobs in the car,” ranging from gearshifts to window cranks. “It’s terribly strong material. It lasts forever!” And Schafer says we can keep using soybeans for all those parts and more today.

Listen to Cindy’s interview with Dave here: Antique Ford Tractor Collector Dave Schafer

Check out the photo album below and the SoyBiobased.org website as well.

2012 USB Biobased Products Stakeholders Workshop Photos

Soybean Farmer Leaders Excited About New Uses

The U.S. soybean crop may be struggling this summer, but the farmers who grow it know there will still be plenty to go around and they are excited about the newest biobased soy products in the pipelines for the domestic market.

Left to right here are Dale Profit and Jim Stillman – both from Iowa, Karen Fear of Indiana, and Lewis Bainbridge of South Dakota. They are all members of the United Soybean Board who attended this week’s USB Biobased Products Stakeholders’ Workshop in Dearborn, Michigan. I talked with each of them about the event, the importance of biobased products made from soy, partnerships with companies like Ford, and how the crop looks in their areas.

Jim is USB Vice Chairman, a 4th generation farmer from Emmetsburg, and he was impressed to find out that Henry Ford originally used soy oil to make some of the components of his early vehicles and tractors. “To think that it started clear back in the ’30s,” he said. “What if we had carried on? What would we see today?”

Listen to my interview with Jim here: USB Vice Chairman Jim Stillman

As chairman of USB’s Domestic Marketing Committee, Lewis was pleased to announce the new Collegiate Biobased Network to help grow the scientists who will create the new products of the future. “It’s an opportunity for outstanding students working on biobased products to actually see something brought into the market,” he said. “Gives students a chance to interact with folks who are actually getting the products on-line.”

Listen to my interview with Lewis here: USB Director Lewis Bainbridge

Karen is on the USB New Uses Committee and she stressed how the soybean checkoff works with private industry like Ford Motor Company. “It really helps the farmer understand where his dollars are going,” she said.

Listen to my interview with Karen here: USB Director Karen Fear

Dale is also on the New Uses Committee and says even though the types of new uses for soy would make up only a small percentage of the crop, it’s value added for the farmer.

Listen to my interview with Dale here: USB Director Dale Profit

Check out the photo album below and the SoyBiobased.org website as well.

2012 USB Biobased Products Stakeholders Workshop Photos

Senator and Secretary Attend Biobased Workshop

Senator Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) and Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack were keynote speakers at the 2012 United Soybean Board Biobased Products Stakeholders’ Workshop at the Ford Research and Innovation Center in Dearborn, Michigan this week to show their strong support for new products made from agricultural commodities.

“I think the sky’s the limit,” said Sen. Stabenow. “I don’t believe you have an economy unless you make things and grow things.”

She noted that soybeans are at the top of the list when it comes to developing biobased products. “There’s not a more exciting opportunity than focusing on soy,” Stabenow said. “It’s really extraordinary how we’re going to be able to focus on giving new markets to our farmers, get us off of foreign oil and create jobs, all at the same time.”

The senator made a few comments about the inability of Congress to get a new “farm bill” completed before leaving for August recess and talked about the bill that did get passed by the Senate. “We expanded the energy title beyond biofuels,” she said. “To be able to focus on our biobased marketing program and our biopreferred program.”

Listen to or download Sen. Stabenow’s remarks here: Sen. Debbie Stabenow

Secretary Vilsack spoke directly to the many students who attended the workshop and encouraged them to work in the field to develop new products. “This is an unlimited future that you have before you and you get to shape it,” he said.

Vilsack also talked about the lack of a “food, farm and jobs bill” out of Congress. “The risk that we run in delay is not just that we create uncertainty … it runs the risk of having this discussion wrapped into a much larger discussion … what are we going to do about the budget deficit,” he said. “Agriculture is already doing its part.”

Listen to or download Vilsack’s remarks here: Secy. Vilsack at USB Biobased Workshop

Lots more to come on this event – especially about how Ford is getting back to its roots in using soybased products to build vehicles in addition to running them. Cool stuff!

Check out the photo album below and the SoyBiobased.org website as well.

2012 USB Biobased Products Stakeholders Workshop Photos

Sending Animal Agriculture Offshore Would Increase Food Costs

Leading off a press conference during Commodity Classic for the United Soybean Board was Vanessa Kummer, Chair. The topic was Consumer and Food Safety Costs of Offshoring Animal Agriculture (pdf). This is a Soybean Checkoff funded study. Also pictured on stage are Lewis Bainbridge, USB Director (seated) and André Williamson, Agralytica, (standing) the company that conducted the study.

Paying more for food may not be out of the question for consumers if regulations on the U.S. poultry and livestock sectors increase. In fact, consumers could pay up to $16.8 billion more annually for meat, milk and eggs if regulations are imposed on U.S. poultry and livestock farmers that raise input costs by 25 percent.

The Consumer and Food Safety Costs of Offshoring Animal Agriculture, a recent soy-checkoff-funded study, evaluated current U.S. supply and demand for poultry and livestock products and the impact of regulations on retail price. The study indicates that potential regulations could raise consumer costs. For example, requiring cage-free housing for laying hens would increase the cost of eggs from $1.68 to $2.10 per dozen, a total cost of $2.66 billion per year to U.S. consumers.

“This could have a big impact on everyone – it’s not just that dozen eggs you and I buy at the grocery store,” explains Vanessa Kummer, a soybean farmer from Colfax, N.D., and chair of the United Soybean Board (USB). “As Americans, we have abundant, nutritious and affordable food choices that rely heavily on protein from animals, and, as farmers, we continue to work hard on improvements because we share consumers’ concerns for our country’s land and resources, and the quality of America’s food.”

The report cites increased regulations that could drive up costs of production meat, milk and eggs by anywhere from 10 percent to 25 percent. It shows that a 25 percent increase in costs to animal agriculture would reduce U.S. exports by $1.1 billion and cause nearly 9,000 Americans to lose their jobs.

Listen to or download the USB press conference here: United Soybean Board Press Conference

2012 Commodity Classic Photo Album

Coverage of the 2012 Commodity Classic Show is sponsored by BASF and New Holland

Osborn Barr Honors John Becherer

The United Soybean Board’s CEO, John Becherer, got a little bit of love from everyone attending the Osborn Barr reception at Commodity Classic. John is receiving this year’s National Agri-Marketing Association Agribusiness Leader of the Year Award which will be officially presented to him during next month’s Agri-Marketing Conference in Kansas City. However, Osborn Barr which has worked with USB for many years invited in a number of current and former board members and others for a special recognition of John here in Nashville at Cellar One.

The highlight of the event was a new rendition of the song Ring of Fire. Accompanying the band to sing the new lyrics were the current USB Chair, Vanessa Kummer and other past Chairmen. I just happened to capture the moment on video for your viewing pleasure. I know John will really appreciate this. You’re welcome John and congratulations on your very deserved award! You’ll hear Lance Burditt, Osborn Barr, explain why John is so deserving of this award. In the photo John is responding to all the love by making a few comments.

You can read the lyrics here (.doc).

2012 Commodity Classic Photo Album

Coverage of the 2012 Commodity Classic Show is sponsored by BASF and New Holland

Biodiesel Adds Value to Minnesota Soybeans

The Renewable Energy Group (REG) celebrated the official grand opening of REG Albert Lea biodiesel plant in Minnesota on Monday, with representatives of the state and local community and agriculture industry.

REG President and COO Dan Oh (right) says the plant was shut down in 2008 when economic woes hit the biodiesel industry, but REG felt it was a significant plant that needed to get back in operation. “Think of a gallon of biodiesel in roughly every bushel of soybeans, this is a 30 million gallon biodiesel facility, so that really adds value back to a bean bushel,” Dan told me.

Listen to or download my interview with Dan here. REG President Dan Oh

Pictured here with Dan is Jim Willers, a Minnesota farmer who is a director on the United Soybean Board and a member of the Minnesota Soybean Research and Promotion Council. Jim says he’s proud of Minnesota’s support of biodiesel and how it in turn supports the local economy. “This plant’s put almost 25-30 people back to work, there’s usually 50 trucks that go through here and the spin off effect from this plant creates almost 2,000 jobs,” he said.

Listen to or download my interview with Jim here. Minnesota soybean farmer Jim Willers

Watch the ribbon cutting below and see photos in the REG Albert Lea biodiesel plant photo album

New Ideas for Promoting Soybean Exports

usb soybean exportsThe final session of the US Soybean Export Council Animal Utilization Stakeholders meeting in Seattle this past weekend focused on a discussion of new ideas to promote soybean exports in the future.

As chairman of the United Soybean Board International Marketing Committee, Jim Call of Minnesota split his time between the animal utilization and the human utilization meetings. “I think we covered a lot of areas. I think it gives our staff a little more direction on the projects they need to bring forward to the farmers in the future that we as farmers think will add value,” he said.

The last panel at the animal utilization meeting discussed ways that animo acid profiles could be used as a marketing characteristic. “Currently the market focuses on protein and oil,” Jim explained. “What we’re trying to do is get the market to focus instead of just on protein, on amino acid or digestibility.”

Listen to my interview with Jim here. USB Director Jim Call

More interviews and stories from the meeting can be found here.

USSEC First Animal Utilization Stakeholders Meeting Photos

Novus International Shares Vision with US Soybean Growers

usb soybean exportsThe vision of Novus International is “To help feed the world affordable, wholesome food and achieve a higher quality of life.”

That is a vision this global animal nutrition company shares with the U.S. soybean industry, with exports around the world accounting for more than half of annual production. “A lot of commonality in that and a lot of opportunity to work together and have complimentary efforts to do the right thing, not only for agriculture and livestock production, but for mankind,” said Novus International Director of Product Management Wendell Knehans, who participated in the US Soybean Export Council Animal Utilization Stakeholders meeting in Seattle this past weekend.

Wendell gave a presentation at the meeting to provide an overview of Novus and possibilities of partnership, explain some of the technical services that Novus provides in the livestock industry, and discuss some of the mutual opportunities.

Listen to my interview with Wendell here. Wendell Knehans with Novus International

USSEC First Animal Utilization Stakeholders Meeting Photos

What Soybean Stakeholders are Learning at USSEC Meeting

usb soybean exportsThe weather is fabulous in Seattle this weekend, but directors of the United Soybean Board (USB) are inside and hard at work learning more about opportunities for exports at the US Soybean Export Council Animal Utilization Stakeholders meeting.

As far as stakeholders are concerned, USB is one of the major ones represented here, since soybean checkoff dollars are used to fund the USSEC’s export promotion efforts. “I’m here to learn more about the world demand for protein for animal feeds,” says David Hartke, USB Director from Illinois. “Sitting on the Production Committee with USB, I’ve been asked to be the lead on the composition of the soybean and felt that I needed to be here.”

Listen to my interview with David here. David Hartke, USB Director

usb soybean exportsWhile all the USB directors I have featured so far are from Illinois, there are directors outside of the Midwest! One of them is Jacob Parker from North Carolina who says the export market for US soybeans is critically important for the industry, accounting for over half the production nationwide.

“We need to maintain that business,” Jacob told me. “We need to also make sure that our domestic crush continues and try to figure out ways to export meal as well as whole beans.”

Listen to my interview with Jacob here. Jacob Parker, USB Director

USSEC First Animal Utilization Stakeholders Meeting Photos

USB Helps Direct Soybean Export Promotion Dollars

usb soybean exportsThe whole purpose of the US Soybean Export Council Animal Utilization Stakeholders meeting this weekend in Seattle is to evaluate the international marketing program for animal feed use and explore ideas for the future.

One of the architects of the series of meetings that will be held in advance of program allocations for the 2013 budget year is United Soybean Board (USB) International Marketing Animal Utilization Subcommittee Chair Dwain Ford of Illinois. “By gaining the knowledge of the market we hope to be able to invest checkoff dollars more wisely and get a greater return on our investment for the farmers,” he said.

Listen to my interview with Dwaine here. Dwaine Ford, USB Director

USSEC First Animal Utilization Stakeholders Meeting Photos

Around the World at Soybean Export Stakeholders Meeting

usb soybean exportsParticipants in the US Soybean Export Council Animal Utilization Stakeholders meeting got a quick trip around the world in about four hours Saturday morning with presentations on global opportunities for soybean exports for animal use.

“We had 11 speakers representing eight different countries or regions,” said Miguel Escobar, USSEC Global Director of Animal Utilization. “We heard from all of them what kind of things they are doing in the marketplace for the future.”

Miguel says they wanted to let the stakeholders who fund the efforts of the USSEC know how their money is being spent. “The main two are the the Foreign Agriculture Service (FAS) of the USDA, the United Soybean Board (USB) and all the companies that are members of USSEC who have interest in animal utilization part of the business,” he said.

Miguel is very excited about the stakeholders meeting. “We are breaking the ground for what is going to happen in the future for animal utilization,” he said, noting that it represents an $18 billion segment of the U.S. soybean export market.

Listen to my interview with Miguel here. Miguel Escobar with USSEC

USSEC First Animal Utilization Stakeholders Meeting Photos