ST. LOUIS -- More than seven out of every 10 U.S. soybean farmers continue to support their soybean checkoff, and more than three out of four expressed familiarity with the details and specifics of the checkoff, according to the most recent checkoff-funded producer attitudes survey. The survey also found that support for the checkoff is uniform across the country.

"These survey numbers show the seriousness with which our dedicated volunteer checkoff farmer-leaders take their responsibilities," said USB Chairman Chuck Myers. "The 50 percent share of national checkoff collections from upward of 600,000 soybean farmers was at just over $67 million for 2008 and anticipated at just over $64 million for 2009. So investing that money wisely and responsibly is our primary focus and responsibility. I think feedback such as this survey is a strong indication that farmers are comfortable with the work we're doing on their behalf."

The producer attitudes survey is conducted independently and is used as a method by USB directors to guide their decisions on how to invest checkoff dollars. Participants were asked questions about a broad range of topics, including production solutions and innovations, new uses for soy, support of the U.S. animal agriculture industry, international marketing and, new to this survey, sustainability.

Among other findings of the survey:

  • 86 percent said the checkoff has helped develop new uses for soy.
  • 80 percent said the checkoff has helped expand or develop new international markets for soy.
  • 73 percent said the checkoff has helped develop advances or improvements in production techniques.
  • 64 percent say they remember receiving Beyond the Bean magazine, a 20-point jump since 2006. Of those who recall receiving Beyond the Bean, 76 percent said the articles found there are at least as helpful as, if not more helpful than, articles found in other agriculture-related publications.
  • 58 percent said they've made changes to their farm to make it more sustainable.

  • Telephone interviews with 1,000 soybean producers across the United States were conducted Feb. 8-25. A sample of this size produces a confidence interval of +/- 3.1.

    This survey feedback very much aligns with the recent resolution passed by the American Soybean Association's delegate body, which reads:

    "ASA supports continuation of the national soybean checkoff and encourages soybean farmers to support continuation of the national checkoff program. ASA believes that the national soybean checkoff is an important tool to help soybean farmers develop new uses, conduct production research and expand domestic and foreign markets. ASA supports USB and its farmer leaders and will strive toward a harmonious working relationship with USB and will endeavor to strengthen the professional relationship with USB that in turn will benefit all U.S. soybean producers."

    Myers said, "It's reassuring to know that all of our fellow soybean farmers, including ASA members, believe we're acting in their best interest. Ultimately, all of our funding decisions have to pass muster with every soybean farmer, not just the 68 soybean farmers who are members of the board."

    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.