Checkoff-Funded Tool Helps Show U.S. Soy’s Sustainability PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Agribusiness
Written by United Soybean Board   
Wednesday, 11 January 2012 13:00
Checkoff Supports Improved Fieldprint Calculator to Help Farmers Meet Customers’ Needs

ST. LOUIS (January 11, 2012) – U.S. soybean farmers now have an updated tool that can meet the needs of some customers who want proof U.S. soy has been sustainably produced.

That’s why the soybean checkoff continues to support the Field to Market alliance and its updated Fieldprint Calculator, a tool U.S. soybean farmers can use to help measure, improve and demonstrate their sustainability performance.

The updated calculator, available on the Internet by clicking here, includes several upgrades from earlier versions. It allows U.S. farmers to analyze individual fields and includes more advanced measurements for soil conservation and soil carbon. Additionally, the tool automatically provides a financial ledger that computes the economic impact of sustainable practices on that farm. It also allows U.S. farmers to set up a secure account to save their information for future use.

Nebraska soybean farmer Mike Thede notes that checkoff-funded research has proven the sustainability performance of U.S. soy production. The checkoff shares that information with U.S. soy buyers to support sales.

“All U.S. farmers are under more and more pressure from our customers, who demand soybeans produced in a sustainable manner,” explains Thede, who serves as team lead of the United Soybean Board’s Sustainability Initiative. “We need to continue to document our sustainability performance to our end users in order to maintain and expand our markets.”

According to a recent checkoff-funded life-cycle study, U.S. soybean production proves to be very sustainable due to several factors. For instance, a soybean plant sequesters more greenhouse gases than those generated by the equipment used to grow, harvest and process soybeans. Additionally, U.S. soybean production and processing have become more efficient because of higher yields, more conservation tillage and reduced energy use.

The Fieldprint Calculator can be used for free by all U.S. soybean, corn, wheat, cotton and rice farmers. First, it asks farmers to enter information about their operation. If desired, the tool can confidentially save any information entered, in which case that information is accessible only by the farmer who saved it.

The tool analyzes the use of that farm’s natural resources and inputs to compute its environmental footprint, or “fieldprint.” The results show farmers where there’s room for improvement. U.S. farmers can also compare their results with those from other farms in their area, state or the entire country.

As a member of Field to Market, the soybean checkoff supported development of the original calculator in 2009, as well as the recent update. More information about Field to Market and the Fieldprint Calculator is available at

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USB is made up of 69 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.


Iowa Farm Bureau Priorities for 2012 Legislative Session PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Agribusiness
Written by Heather Lilienthal   
Tuesday, 10 January 2012 16:06


WEST DES MOINES, IOWA – Jan. 10, 2012 – Iowa Farm Bureau will focus on property taxes, regulatory reform and infrastructure funding in the 2012 legislative session.

“A priority in 2012 will be building on our success during the 2011 session, when Farm Bureau was instrumental in providing property tax relief by leading the effort to backfill $160 million in state money for our schools,” said Iowa Farm Bureau Federation (IFBF) President Craig Hill.   Farm Bureau will protect Iowa property taxpayers as new funding mechanisms are pursued for government services, including the redesign of the mental health system.  Farm Bureau will also work to ensure that commercial property tax reform measures do not create a shift to other classes of property.”

IFBF, Iowa’s largest grassroots farming organization, is also in support of long-term sustainable and equitable funding to help repair the state’s aging infrastructure. According to a recent Iowa DOT study, maintenance and repair of Iowa’s roads and bridges is falling behind. “An additional $215 million per year is needed just to address the critical repairs to Iowa’s roads and bridges.  Providing and maintaining an adequate infrastructure system, such as safe roads and bridges, is a basic function of government,” said Hill.

IFBF will work with lawmakers again this year to strengthen legislative oversight of the rule-making process.  “Our regulatory process needs reform.  Unwarranted regulations add unnecessary and unexpected costs to farming.  In recent years, we’ve seen numerous examples of rules developed by governor-appointed boards and commissions without the direction of the state legislature.  It is important that boards and commissions do not exceed their authority by creating rules beyond federal requirements.  These are decisions that should be made by the legislature,” said Hill.  “Rules also need to be based on sound science to determine their need, relevance and effectiveness.”

Another priority for Farm Bureau members in the 2012 legislative session is the continued support of increased funding of science-proven conservation practices that yield real results.  “Farm Bureau will continue to work for increased state funding to implement incentive-based, voluntary conservation programs.  Farmers want to do more, but these programs are currently underfunded and demand for cost-share dollars exceeds available funding by more than $15 million.  We know these conservation measures work. Thanks to buffer strips, terracing and other soil-protection measures, Iowa farmers have reduced total cropland erosion in this state by over 30 percent since 1982. Farm Bureau has always supported the efforts of the Soil & Water Conservation Districts and the Iowa Department of Agriculture & Land Stewardship to maintain soil conservation funding,” said Hill, a Milo crop and livestock farmer.



About Iowa Farm Bureau

The Iowa Farm Bureau Federation is a grassroots, statewide organization dedicated to enhancing the People, Progress and Pride of Iowa.  More than 153,000 families in Iowa are Farm Bureau members, working together to achieve farm and rural prosperity.  For more information about Farm Bureau and agriculture, visit the online media room at

Calling All U.S. Soybean Farmers: See Checkoff for Yourself PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Agribusiness
Written by United Soybean Board   
Tuesday, 10 January 2012 16:05
Registration Now Open for USB’s “See for Yourself” Program

ST. LOUIS (January 10, 2012) – Do you grow soybeans and want to see your checkoff in action? This is your chance.

U.S. soybean farmers can now apply for the United Soybean Board’s (USB) free See for Yourself (SFY) program, which will enable 10 U.S. soybean farmers this year to witness for themselves how the soybeans they grow are used in animal feed at home and abroad, in biodiesel, in fish farming, and even as a mainstay in a school-lunch program. As you learn, you can also evaluate how soybean-checkoff investments help foster this utilization every step of the way.

Interested U.S. soybean farmers may complete an application now through March 30 on the USB website at

“‘Seeing is believing’ has become the theme of this program,” says program participant Rick Stern, who raises soybeans on his farm in Cream Ridge, N.J. Stern also serves as chair of USB’s Audit & Evaluation (A&E) Committee.

“The program allows soybean farmers to see how multifaceted their checkoff is, and how our soybeans are being used both here in the United States and internationally,” he says.

The weeklong program, scheduled to take place July 29-Aug. 4, will also enable U.S. soybean farmers to meet industry representatives using soy, as well as some of the men and women who help lead the checkoff.

“The program lets U.S. soybean farmers see how their checkoff works, develop relationships with the farmer-leaders who represent them and come away with knowledge about how their checkoff dollars are put to use,” Stern says.

Stern and other USB farmer-directors who serve on its A&E Committee oversee the See for Yourself program and other efforts to help ensure all U.S. soybean farmers see a return on their soybean checkoff investments.

USB is made up of 69 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.

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Agriculture Secretary Vilsack to Host Conference Call on USDA’s New Blueprint for Stronger Service to Increase Efficiency in Operations PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Agribusiness
Written by USDA Communications Office   
Tuesday, 10 January 2012 15:50

WASHINGTON, Jan. 10, 2012 – TODAY, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack will hold a media conference call to discuss USDA’s Blueprint for Stronger Service (Hyperlink release), which was announced by Secretary Vilsack yesterday at the American Farm Bureau Federation's annual meeting. USDA’s Blueprint for Stronger Service is a plan to help producers continue to drive America’s economy by streamlining operations and cutting costs.

The Blueprint for Stronger Service is based on a Department-wide review of operations conducted as part of the Administration’s Campaign to Cut Waste, launched by President Obama and Vice President Biden to make government work better and more efficiently for the American people. The agency took a hard look at all USDA operations, from headquarters to field offices. The end result is a plan that will create optimal use of USDA people, better results for USDA customers and greater efficiencies for American taxpayers.

Farmers Rein In Bullish Hopes for 2012 PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Agribusiness
Written by Farm Futures News   
Tuesday, 10 January 2012 08:46

The latest Farm Futures survey results show lower crop prices could mean fewer corn and soybeans acres than previous projections.

ST. LOUIS, MO., 7:30 A.M., CST, (01/05/2012) - Tightening profit margins and an uncertain global economic outlook are forcing farmers to reevaluate plans to increase corn and soybeans acreage in 2012, according to Farm Futures magazine’s latest survey of planting intentions. Results of the survey were released today at the beginning of Farm Futures annual Management Summit held in St. Louis.

While growers still hope to increase corn seedings this spring, the magazine now estimates acreage at 93.6 million, down 300,000 from its first survey in August. That would be a 1.8% jump over the 91.9 million planted in 2011.

Farm Futures survey of 1,350 farmers nationwide shows soybean acreage could be down substantially from the summer, when prices were some $2 a bushel higher. The latest indications suggest soybean acres could be slightly lower than 2011 at 74.9 million, 2 million less than the August estimate.

“Corn remains the most profitable crop for Midwest farmers, but lower prices could bring less expansion,” says Farm Futures Senior Editor Bryce Knorr, who conducted the survey. “Though most growers would like to plant more soybeans to improve rotations, at the end of the day money talks.”

Wheat acreage could also see significant changes for 2012, especially with weather such an issue for farmers in recent years. Farm Futures estimates total wheat acres at 59.2 million, up 1% from its August estimate and almost 9% higher than 2011. 

“The increase in wheat acres was no surprise,” says Farm Futures Market Analyst Arlan Suderman. “Durum and other spring wheat acreage will try to return to normal levels in 2012 after a disastrous planting season in 2011. Meanwhile, unexpected fall moisture led Plains farmers to aggressively plant winter wheat to get a cover over their previously parched soils. They’ll decide in the spring if it’s more economical to fertilize and save the wheat for harvest or graze it off and attempt to plant a row crop.”

Hard red winter wheat acreage rose to 31.6 million, up almost 9% from 2011, and 1.3 million more than the fall survey. But farmers in the eastern Midwest weren’t able to plant as much soft red winter wheat due to delays harvesting other 2011 crops. The Farm Futures survey put soft red seedings at 7.5 million, down around 10% for 2011. With white winter wheat unchanged at 3.7 million, total winter wheat plantings could reach 42.8 million, up 400,000 from August and 2.2 million more than 2011.

USDA releases its first estimate of winter wheat seedings Jan. 12, when final 2011 crop corn and soybean production also are announced. The Farm Futures survey found only a slight change in soybean yields and production from USDA’s last estimate. The average U.S. yield was pegged at 41.28 bushels per acre, for a crop of 3.042 billion bushels.

Corn yields could fall around 1 bushel per acre nationwide from the agency’s last estimate. That would put the average yield nationwide at 145.75 bushels per acre, for a crop of 12.228 billion bushels. The decrease is in line with the historical tendency from past years when the agency cut its forecast in November, says Suderman.

“The acreage projected for 2012 combined with forecasts for a lingering La Nina into the spring and dry soil profiles in the western Midwest suggests that volatility could be high again in 2012,” Suderman says. 

“A 5% shift in yield from trend levels would be tame compared to that past two years, but it could be feast or famine for the grain industry, swinging production by nearly 1.4 billion bushels. Dry soil profiles in the western Midwest could create the need for added risk premium in the price early this spring until forecasters get a better handle on the longevity of the current La Nina pattern.”

While farmers worldwide focus on corn, fewer soybean acres could tighten soybean stocks. “How soon that happens will depend on global weather patterns, beginning with this year’s South American crop,” says Suderman.

Survey results by crop:

2011 Crop Production



Bu. Per Acre


12.228 billion



3.042 billion


2012 Crop Planting Intentions




93.6 million


74.9 million

All Wheat

59.2 million

Other Spring Wheat

13.8 million


2.6 million

Soft Red Winter Wheat

7.5 million

Hard Red Winter Wheat

31.6 million

White Winter Wheat

3.7 million

All Winter Wheat

42.8 million



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