In an effort to continue improving the competitiveness of U.S. soybean farmers, Secretary of Agriculture Mike Johanns has appointed three new United Soybean Board (USB) directors to fill open board member positions in Maryland, Minnesota and Missouri.

USB, the soybean checkoff and USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service welcome them to the board.

In Maryland, soybean farmer G. Steve Moore of Sudlersville, will fill an opening and serve his term through 2007. In Minnesota, soybean farmer James Call of Madison, will fill an opening and serve his term through 2006. In Missouri, soybean farmer Richard Fordyce of Bethany, will fill an opening and serve his term through 2007.

“I know these new board members are excited to work together for the betterment of the U.S. soy industry by educating farmers on the importance of meeting customer needs,” says Curt Raasch, USB chairman and a soybean farmer from Odebolt, Iowa. “These farmer-leaders will hit the ground running, committed to making the most out of their term on the Board.”

Soybean checkoff interests include a new focus on customers that reaches beyond the local elevator — a farmer’s customers range from poultry and livestock producers and the food industry to biodiesel retailers and users and export customers around the world. Each of these customers has needs that U.S. soybean farmers must tailor their attention to for success.

“Whether it’s educating soybean producers on the importance of understanding and meeting customer needs, or through production research, ensuring soybean farmers understand how to protect their crop from infectious diseases and pests, the soybean checkoff is there to produce and deliver quality products while maintaining preference for U.S. soybeans,” says Raasch. “I’m confident these new board members will represent the best interests of all U.S. soybean farmers admirably.”

USB is made up of 64 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 Customer Information Act, USDA's Agricultural Marketing Service has oversight responsibilities for USB and the soybean checkoff