The United Soybean Board has elected Jim Carroll III from Brinkley as Chair at the annual board meeting Wednesday (Dec. 11).
In addition, 19 new directors, appointed by U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue, were sworn in by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
“We’ve made great strides to innovate beyond the bushel and infuse every opportunity we can into growing markets and creating new uses for soybeans,” said Carroll. “We have a lot to be proud of but also have tremendous potential to further demand as we continue our progress through wise and strategic investments. One of my priorities as Chair is to recognize the performance and sustainability of U.S. Soy and show our customers its many capabilities as a renewable alternative.”
USB leadership, with oversight from USDA, guides the activity of the national soy checkoff in accordance with the strategy outlined by the 78-member board.
USB continues to focus on three priority areas for investment: meal, oil and sustainability. During the meeting, they considered market impacts, challenges and opportunities that will affect soybean value, hearing from several key industry influencers.
USB also recognized the American Soybean Association’s 100th anniversary at the meeting, noting its commitment to domestic and international policy issues important to the soybean industry.
“Our dedicated farmer-directors have developed a strategy that allows U.S. soybean farmers to further realize returns on their checkoff investment. By focusing on areas like shifting consumer patterns, quality improvement, global supply and demand perspectives, biofuels and environmental stewardship, USB can further develop already successful markets for U.S. Soy while keeping an eye on the future,” said Polly Ruhland, USB CEO. “I look forward to working with our newly elected leaders to carry out this strategic vision.”
Soybeans have been one American crop badly hurt by the trade war with China. Before the economic conflict, China imported about $14 billion worth of U.S. soybeans each year. Only a fraction of that is now being imported and it has caused record numbers of soybeans to be stored in the U.S.
Soybeans are the top crop in Arkansas, and the export war has drastically changed farming habits in the Natural State. An estimated 3.6 million soybean acres were planted in 2018 and that number dropped to 2.6 million in 2019, according to the United States Agriculture Department. Farmers have switched to other crops such as corn to minimize potential losses.
Last week, China announced it would relax its position on soybean trade and pork imports, but details of the policy change were not clear.