The national organization (American Soybean Association) and other soy-based industries have begun to look at ways to bring customers and growers closer together.

The national program has been dubbed ‘beyond the elevator’.

“In looking at what happens to our crop once it’s delivered to the grain elevator, it has dawned on the soybean industry how valuable animal agriculture is to all our livelihoods,” Hall says.

“Other states have formed animal agriculture groups in response to anti-agriculture coalition groups that have access to political ballots. We feel like our group is more pro-active and has a real opportunity to have a unified voice in support of agriculture that we may not have when speaking as different organizations within agriculture,” he adds.

The founding members of the North Carolina Animal Agriculture Coalition are the North Carolina Farm Bureau, North Carolina Pork Council, North Carolina Poultry Federation, the North Carolina Cattlemens Association and the North Carolina Soybean Growers Association.

Two states, North Carolina and Iowa dwarf the use of soybean meal among all other agriculture states in the U.S. Iowa animal agriculture is dominated by swine production, while North Carolina is among the top five in poultry and hogs.

In addition to the five founding organizations, the North Carolina Corn Growers Association, the North Carolina Dairy Association and various breed associations have become active associate members of the group.

Only in their first year of operation, Hall says in a short period of time he expects to add dozens of members to the organization.

“I hope all groups involved with livestock and feed stock production will be members. Certainly feed and grain dealers and other similar organizations would bring a wealth of support for our organization,” Hall says.

“This organization is geared to generate some common messages that all of agriculture can share with opinion leaders and political leaders. We’re not so much interested right now in influencing political policies, rather making a clear statement on how much animal agriculture means to North Carolina,” he adds.

“Animal agriculture has a huge impact on the economies of rural areas of the state. Whether they are soybean producers or swine producers, the products they sell contribute significantly to hundreds of communities in which these producers live.

“The NCAAC will prepare producers to go out and speak to Rotary Clubs, county commissioner meetings and similar organizations. A unified message on the impact of animal agriculture in the state is critical for producers, but it’s also critical to continued supply of safe and affordable food.