U.S. farmers have taken notice of the growth in global demand for U.S. soybeans maintained in part by the United Soybean Board (USB) and the soybean checkoff.

According to the 2011 Prospective Plantings report by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), U.S. farmers will plant 76.6 million acres of soybeans this year. USDA estimates this year’s soybean crop may be 1 percent lower than last year. But if the numbers hold, the 2011 soybean crop could be the third-largest planted area on record.

“The checkoff has done a good job of keeping U.S. soybeans competitive in the market,” says Jason Bean, soybean farmer from Holcomb, Mo., and chair of the USB production research program. “Checkoff dollars have provided research to ensure a good-quality U.S. soybean. If we have a desirable product, we’ll be able to sustain and increase our demand.”

Through work to increase market access and maintain demand for U.S. soy abroad, the checkoff helped U.S. soybean farmers post record-high exports for a fourth straight year last year.

Domestically, the checkoff focuses on maintaining and creating demand by supporting U.S animal agriculture as well as funding production research to protect and increase U.S. soybean yields and research on new uses for soybeans.
“The checkoff’s production research program has done a good job supporting research to increase yields for U.S. farmers so that we’re improving their opportunity for profit growing soybeans,” adds Bean.