March 24, 2023 – The United Soybean Board, which oversees the funds of the national checkoff, is looking for farmer-leaders from all backgrounds to get involved on the national board.
“It gives you a chance to work on some of the bigger ticket topics in the soybean industry that benefit farmers,” Lance Rezac, USB director from Onaga, says. “You can be involved with national companies utilizing soybean products, such as Goodyear and Rust-Oleum. It gives you many international opportunities, as well, through checkoff-funded groups like the U.S. Soybean Export Council.”
The mission of the soybean checkoff is to create value for U.S. soybean farmers by investing in research, education and promotion of U.S.-grown soy. Farmer-leaders are able to influence those investments through service on the board. The checkoff’s current return-on-investment of $12.34 back to farmers for each dollar invested demonstrates the checkoff’s efficacy in driving soybean profitability.
According to the United States Department of Agriculture, which handles the nomination process, eligible nominees include “soybean producers within the U.S. who own or share ownership and risk of loss of soybean production.” Board members are required to attend the February, July and December meetings annually as well as various conference calls. Leaders volunteer their time to serve, but are reimbursed for travel expenses and expenses related to attending meetings and events on behalf of USB.
“You can put as much into your service as you want,” Rezac says. “The minimum requirement is three meetings per year, but if you want to be more involved, those opportunities exist to be a workgroup lead or join special committees. You can learn even more and be more involved in your industry.”
Rezac is familiar with the range of roles USB offers. He was elected to the Kansas Soybean Commission in 2012 and became a USB director in 2017, since serving on the Audit & Evaluation Committee and the Demand Action Team in the Innovation and Technology priority area. He also took an active role in USSEC through USB and was elected Vice Chair of the USSEC board in March 2023.
USB service is open to all individuals without regard to their protected statuses including race, color, national origin, gender, religion, age, disability, sexual orientation, marital or family status, political beliefs, parental status, or other protected information. KSC works to ensure that its nominees to USB reflect the diversity in the size of enterprise, experience, methods of production and distribution, marketing strategies, and other distinguishing factors that represent Kansas soybean farmers.
Individuals in Kansas who are interested in making their mark on the soybean industry are asked to apply for a USB director role by April 10. The interest form is available at www.kansassoybeans.org/forms.
“Like most volunteer opportunities, you get more out of being a USB director than you put into the role,” Rezac concludes. “It’s a worthy time commitment to help promote U.S. agriculture and spend time around good people in agriculture.”