Influence the Influencers

A fundamental question our directors ponder about efforts of the Illinois Soybean Association (ISA) is whether our work should be about the producer or about the soybean. Put another way, how do we advance the financial viability of soybeans so producers want to plant them?

The critical answer to this question is to influence the influencers. We must identify the factors that affect our decision-making and then interact with influencers to make production desirable.

Influential factors can include infrastructure, quality and composition, production costs, policy and regulations, adaptability to incorporate more technology to get more for less, and the ability of producers to “ink out” more financial returns on the farm through better business and management practices. The list also includes attention to future competition for soybeans; not just from other global producers, but from other crops like corn, vegetables and even cannabis.

These are all influences ISA has targeted for input and leadership on behalf of the state’s soybean producers. And as we take ownership, we are responsible for positive outcomes.

In this issue of Soy Perspectives, our cover story explores the Illinois soybean industry and the influence it has in the state and beyond. Where are we on customer acceptance of soy for food, feed and fuel use? What benefits do we see from production at the local, national and global levels? What makes Illinois soybean production an attractive investment within the industry? Where might we be headed in the future in terms of advancement based upon this analysis?

We also break down in this issue some specific examples of the various applications for Illinois soy. For example, trade tensions with China have placed a big hole in soybean exports. In what ways can that damage be repaired and influence Illinois soy’s market position? How can the surge in demand for plant proteins offer opportunity for soybeans in multiple markets? How is the ISA checkoff program continuing to be a leader on the biodiesel front?

As we look to the future and to the influencers who can help us succeed, we must keep in mind that fuel, food and feed opportunities for soybeans will continue to evolve. The 2019 soybean crop developing in our fields will be used in multiple ways. By remaining focused on our current uses and in touch with future needs, we can help direct our industry for the better.

Influence the Influencers