It’s all about making the soybeans grown here in Michigan more valuable. That’s why the money from the soybean checkoff is going a long way to grow that value of soybeans for Michigan farmers.
“The reason we’re here is to return investment to U.S. soy farmers,” says Meagan Kaiser, the Chair of the United Soybean Board, which oversees the national soybean checkoff. She and her husband Mark produce soybeans and corn on their farm in Missouri.
Michigan Ag Today spoke with Kaiser during the 2023 Commodity Classic in Orlando. She says the money collected for the soy checkoff has been very well spent.
“The checkoff has a $12.34 return on investment—that means every time you give me one dollar, I give you $12.34 back. How many times you going to do that? It’s a pretty good investment and a pretty good return,” says Kaiser. “We are working really hard that if we’re taking pennies out of the farmer’s back pocket, that we’re putting tens and twenties back in.”
“For 30 years, we’ve been working on building up the biodiesel industry. That was farmers thinking long-term, ‘What can we do with this oil?’ Now, they’ve laid the groundwork as we’ve figured out—if it can be a replacement with renewable diesel—and in even as sustainable aviation fuel, I think five years down the road, this could be a really big boon. Those are win-wins,” says Kaiser.
She points to many other soy-based products developed from checkoff funds.
“We have a product called Synlawn, which is soy-backed AstroTurf. We even have some wood adhesives so we can replace formaldehyde and use soy adhesives instead,” according to Kaiser.
“We’re talking about some of the ways that we’re not only impacting human and animal health and nutrition, but at the same time, we’re working on bio-based products that really leads to the world thinking about how we can be better stewards of the land,” says Kaiser.
What message does Kaiser have for Michigan’s soybean producers?
“I hope you’re proud of the investments you’ve made in your checkoff,” says Kaiser. “Not only are you building demand that is good for our own financial sustainability on our farms, but you’re really meaningfully having an impact on global hunger and also making a better planet. I hope you are celebrating at home your wins that your investments in the checkoff have helped all of us to accomplish together.”