Weekly Update

Soybean Weekly Update - January 20, 2012

January 20, 2012

ISA Seeks Soybean Farmers Interested in At-Large Director Positions

ISA is making notice that applications are available for farmers interested in becoming candidates for at-large director positions representing the Illinois Soybean Program Operating Board (ISPOB) and ISA. Two of the six at-large director terms will expire on July 31, 2012. To be eligible to become a candidate, each person must be an affected soybean farmer residing in Illinois and of legal voting age. More information can be obtained by calling 888-826-4011. Farmers can click here for more specific details about the positions. ISA will provide more details and seek candidates for open ISA district elections at a later date.

Three Join ISA Corporate Partnership Program

Three agricultural companies recently joined ISA's new corporate partnership program; Monsanto as an executive partner, and BASF and Dow AgroSciences as principal partners. The program was established to provide companies ways to work with the state's soybean farmers in such areas as research, education and legislative affairs to help enhance the soybean industry and profitability. ISA offers three partnership levels: executive, principal and associate, based on contribution size to the association. For more information, please contact ISA CEO Craig Ratajczk at 309-808-3607 or craigr@ilsoy.org.

ISA Establishing Global Recognition of Sustainability Efforts

At a time when major soybean customers are starting to use only sustainably produced soybeans in their products, most soybean buyers are largely unaware of the current sustainability of the Illinois soybean industry. ISA is monitoring potential sustainability certifications or standards, and planning to educate producers on why sustainability is gaining importance for Illinois farms. ISA also is working to inform international buyers on sustainability success in Illinois. For example, ISA is planning a trade mission to Taiwan in February, where sustainability will be one of the discussion topics. Because soybeans are used in so many ways, education is key to protecting market access. ISA is approaching sustainabilityin terms of social responsibility, environmental stewardship, best agricultural practices, good business practices and appropriate labor practices. In addition, ISA is working with organizations, including the Center for Sustainability and the Global Environment (SAGE), to help answer the question of how farms can provide food, fiber and fuel for growing populations while conserving vital natural resources.

ASA Issues Statement on Proposed Consolidation of Trade Agencies

The American Soybean Association (ASA) has issued a statement saying the group has strong concerns about President Obama's proposal to merge the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) with other trade agencies. ASA believes that USTR should remain an independent agency within the Executive Office of the President (EOP), focusing on trade negotiations, trade agreements and trade enforcement. By being an independent office within the EOP, USTR serves a critical function in supporting and balancing the divergent trade interests of each sector of the U.S. economy, while consistently advocating the reduction of trade barriers. USTR's efforts have been vital to growth of American agricultural exports. ASA is concerned that folding USTR into a massive department of commerce or industry would significantly weaken its trade coordination role and diminish the work on ag trade opportunities and barriers.

Key ISA Resources Now Available Now Online

The January issue of Illinois Field & Bean is now available online. And, if you missed the December or November issues, they also are available on the ISA website under Soy News. Illinois soybean farmers should receive their own hard copy of the January issue in the next few days. In addition, farmers can read the annual report and find SoyLink, which provides a list of key ISA contacts.

Deadline Approaching: ISA Seeks College Juniors for Crop Sciences Scholarships

The deadline for ISA's crop sciences scholarships for 2012-13 junior status students is quickly approaching. Illinois soybean farmers are encouraged to let prospective applicants know the deadline for application is February 1. Ten, $4,000 scholarships will be awarded to students majoring in crop sciences at Illinois State University, Southern Illinois University Carbondale, Western Illinois University or the University of Illinois.All applicants must be students beginning their junior year or transfer students enrolling at one of the approved universities as a junior. Guidelines, applications and an activities template are available online.Questions may be directed to the IAA Foundation office at 309-557-2230, or by sending an e-mail to charms-garman@ilfb.org. Recipients will be notified by May 1, 2012.

Apply to See the Checkoff in Action for Yourself

Illinois soybean farmers can apply for the United Soybean Board's (USB) See for Yourself (SFY) program. The free program will enable 10 U.S. soybean farmers to witness for themselves how soybeans are used in animal feed at home and abroad, in biodiesel, in fish farming, and even as a mainstay in a school-lunch program. Interested Illinois soybean farmers may complete the application now through March 30 on the USB website. The weeklong program, to be held July 29-Aug. 4, 2012, also will enable farmers to meet industry representatives using soy and those helping lead the checkoff.