Indiana part of group checkoff effort to identify ways to future-proof today’s farms - Indiana Corn and Soy

Indiana part of group checkoff effort to identify ways to future-proof today’s farms

Last year, U.S. soybean farmers grew nearly one-third of the soybeans in the global market. To ensure U.S. Soy retains access to a quickly changing, consumer-driven market, five state soybean checkoff groups jointly funded an effort designed to help soybean farmers make smart and informed decisions that will increase opportunities for future success. The Indiana Soybean Alliance (ISA) joined soybean checkoffs from Iowa, Missouri, Illinois and Ohio to conduct the Future State of Soy exercise that identified the most impactful trends for soy in the coming years.

“First of all, this effort was well worth the investment, and it will help us as we plan to help keep U.S. farmers profitable in the future,” said ISA Chair Jim Douglas, a farmer from Flat Rock, Ind. “This exercise uncovered five trends that will affect soy markets around the world. These trends show how global demand for soybeans will change during the next several decades. This gives U.S. farmers a better insight to position for the future.”

The five trends identified in the Future State of Soy exercise include:

• A rising focus on high-quality soybean oil and meal

• Changes in fuel demand, including alternative fuels, and emerging fuel uses

• The rising need for protein given a growing global population – both in animal and plant form

• The increasing global competition for soy and how infrastructure can provide an impactful advantage

• Emerging and diversified revenue streams that will offer farmers more opportunities

“No two farms anywhere are the same, and the farmers that work them are just as unique,” Douglas said. “The main point of this exercise is to help growers in Indiana and around the country to adjust to changes that will drive the future demand of soybeans and soy products. Identifying these trends enables farmers to determine if their farm is set up to take advantage of trends, or if their farm can take advantage of several different patterns. Figuring how the market is shifting now means farmers won’t have to scramble to meet market demands.”

The soybean checkoff is already investing in several programs at both the national and state levels to find new markets, new uses and new characteristics of soybeans that will align with these five trends. The soybean checkoff will also use these trends as a litmus test when determining if future investments will result in strong returns for U.S. soybean farmers.

In Indiana, ISA is working with Hoosier farmers to expand planted acres of high oleic soybeans, which produce a high-quality oil used in many products. Farmers also earn a premium of a dollar or more per bushel for growing high oleic soybeans. ISA also attempts to expand the number of soybean buyers by expanding customer access to biodiesel and renewable diesel fuel and investing in products that are attractive to overseas customers.

As the soybean checkoff continues to position U.S. Soy for the future, this work will help influence how the world perceives the value of domestic soy and soy products.

“This exercise opened our eyes about many things that can affect U.S. agriculture and the soybean supply chain,” Douglas said. “Around the world, there is a need for more protein. But the people who need it are happy to get it whether it is animal protein or plant-based protein. Soybeans can actually serve both markets as protein-rich food or as a high-quality feed for livestock. Both are valuable for U.S. soybean growers.”

For more information about the Future State of Soy exercise and to see how ISA is investing in projects to support these trends, visit FutureStateOfSoy.org or www.indianasoybean.com.

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