Take time this month to indulge in a hearty breakfast of steak and eggs to celebrate beef month and egg month and support U.S. beef and egg producers as well as U.S. soybean farmers.

As the top consumer of domestic soybean meal, livestock and poultry producers are important to the stability and success of the U.S. soybean industry. The soybean checkoff and United Soybean Board (USB) support U.S. animal agriculture to continue cultivating long-term demand for U.S. soybeans and to help maintain the future of domestic food production.

“It’s very important to make sure we have a market for our product,” says Jim Schriver, a soybean farmer from Montpelier, Ind., and checkoff farmer-leader. “Ninety-eight percent of soybean meal in the United States is used by animal agriculture. It’s very important we support these industries because of their use of soybean meal.”

The soybean checkoff communicates the value of animal agriculture. One example of these efforts is the checkoff-funded Nationwide Economic Impact of Animal Agriculture. This analysis shows the economic value of animal agriculture to communities.

“Animal ag industries do a number of things in a community,” adds Schriver. “First, the grain that livestock producers need usually comes from the local community. These animal ag operations also provide employment and needed services such as plumbers and electricians. When farmers need services, they are going to local stores.”

Released in 2008, this information also explores the economic effects of the animal agriculture industry on U.S. agriculture as a whole, including the U.S. soybean industry. The checkoff-funded research discovered that beef cattle alone consumed 2.5 million tons of soybean meal from 2005 to 2006.

This comes out to nearly 110 million bushels of soybeans and over 2.5 million acres of U.S. soybeans.

From 2005 to 2006, laying hens took in nearly 2.4 million tons of soybean meal, which equates to more than 99 million bushels of soybeans and over 2.3 million acres of U.S. soybeans. Animal agriculture does more than contribute to the economy, this industry also provides an affordable, nutritious food supply.

“U.S. farmers produce the safest food supply in the world,” says Schriver. “We need to help animal agriculture tell that story.”

For more information on animal agriculture, visit http://www.animalag.org.

USB is made up of 68 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.