The latest U.S. soybean farmer survey, conducted by the United Soybean Board (USB) and the soybean checkoff, found a majority of the farmer respondents recognize protein and oil content as important components in the crop they grow.

Nearly 90 percent of soybean farmers agree that protein and oil are important when growing soybeans. But only a little more than half recognize that these quality measurements impact the price per bushel they receive for their soybeans.

“It is critical that all U.S. soybean farmers understand and address the needs of the real end-use customers for U.S. soy,” says Russ Carpenter, soybean farmer from Trumansburg, N.Y., and chair of the USB Communications Program. “We sell most of our soybeans for use as feed by poultry, pork and other animal protein producers, and we need to be able to meet those customers’ needs, providing them with quality U.S. soybeans.”

The latest biannual survey also covered topics influencing soybean farmer profitability, such as the soybean marketplace and outside pressures. Highlights from these findings were:

• Seventy one percent of farmer-respondents were supportive of the soybean checkoff and its programs.

• Eighty eight percent of respondents felt the soybean market constantly expands and are confident in their ability to sell all the soybeans they produce.

• Eighty four percent recognized that outside influencers, including government regulations, environmental challenges, transportation and other key issues, threaten their profitability.

Foreign competition

In addition, the survey addressed competition from Brazil for U.S. soy’s international market share. According to checkoff-funded studies, Brazilian soybeans consistently boast protein and oil advantages over U.S. soybeans. As a result, Brazil poses a serious threat to U.S. soybean farmers’ profit potential. A majority of the farmer-respondents agreed with this statement.

The survey gauged farmer-respondents’ knowledge of protein and oil content and the value it holds for their customers. Nearly three out of four respondents wanted to know more about the impact protein and oil have on the global level.

“We need to think beyond the elevator when we talk about our customers,” says Carpenter. “As a soybean farmer, I may deliver my soybeans to the local elevator, but the demand for my soybeans beyond the elevator determines my profit. Meeting the demands of the end users should be a high priority for all U.S. soybean farmers.”

The federal law that created the soybean checkoff 20 years ago requires evaluation of checkoff-funded programs. Conducted independently, USB farmer-directors use the producer attitudes survey to help guide their decisions on how to invest checkoff funding.

USB is made up of 69 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 Consumer Information Act, USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service has oversight responsibilities for USB and the soybean checkoff.

For more information on the United Soybean Board, visit http://www.unitedsoybean.org.