U.S. soybean farmers have a new organization to help them expand sales of U.S. soybeans and soybean products in foreign markets. The United States Soybean Export Council held its inaugural meeting in Chicago recently.

The USSEC will be governed by 19 representatives from the American Soybean Association, the United Soybean Board and U.S. soybean exporters and allied industry. ASA President Neal Bredehoeft and USB director Mark Pietz, are acting as interim co-chairmen of the Council. Official elections will be held later.

“It's exciting to be on the ground floor of creating a new organization that will implement international market development activities on behalf of ASA and USB,” said Bredehoeft, a farmer from Alma, Mo. “The steps taken at our first meeting will help USSEC get its feet firmly planted on the ground.”

“In creating the Soybean Export Council, ASA and USB farmer leaders recognized the importance of creating an industry-wide entity that allows us to react quickly in the ever-changing global marketplace,” said Pietz. “With the establishment of USSEC, soybean farmers have a strong triad of their association, their checkoff, and now their own international marketing organization working for them.”

Other crops have separate marketing organizations, including the U.S. Wheat Associates for wheat farmers, the U.S. Grains Council for corn growers and Cotton Council International for cotton producers.

USSEC board members also established working committees and asked to bring recommendations before the full board for consideration during the next USSEC board meeting. The board also established a process to hire a chief staff officer for the organization.

Soybean farmers who serve on ASA and USB jointly developed the new organization. ASA has been building overseas markets for U.S. soybean growers since 1956. In 1991, after the inception of the national soybean checkoff, ASA and USB began working together to build international markets and increase competitiveness for U.S. soybean producers.

For more information about USSEC, contact ASA (www.soygrowers.com) or USB (www.unitedsoybean.org).