Every few years, a healthy organization takes a close look at its direction and adjusts for the future. The Illinois Soybean Association (ISA) recently did just that. The previous strategic plan guided ISA through 2020. During our annual meeting in late July, ISA approved a new mission, vision, values and strategic plan for 2021 and beyond. Given current industry challenges, the 24 soybean farmers on the ISA board put a lot of thought, discussion and effort into developing strategy for the next few years. Together, we determined that ISA should be laser-focused on soybean demand, uses and advocacy. A [...]
On a recent Illinois Soybean Association (ISA) trade mission I sat down with a soybean buyer in Bangkok, Thailand, anticipating a friendly and productive meeting. The buyer looked at me, and the first words out of her mouth were: “Why is the quality of your soybeans so low?” As soybean producers we have heard this question before, especially throughout southeast Asia in China, Taiwan and the Philippines. These Pacific Rim countries have an insatiable appetite for U.S. soybeans, but we must address their concerns about quality. A whopping 60 percent of soybeans produced in Illinois are exported. Quality is [...]
The soybean industry can be complex and the challenges we face often require knowledge from teams of experts outside of our operations. When it comes to agronomic insight, I like to lean on fellow soybean buffs to help me find new ways to make my operation successful. Among my favorite resources are the CCA (Certified Crop Adviser) Soy Envoys. The CCA Soy Envoy program, funded by the Illinois Soybean Association checkoff program, helps soybean growers increase yields and profits while minimizing their environmental impact. Thanks to this partnership between the Illinois Soybean Association and Illinois Certified Crop Advisers, I [...]
When I’m successful both in and out of the field, my business thrives. While improving on-farm practices helps me achieve high yield acres, that’s not the only way I can increase profitability. My business succeeds when I commit to continual learning. That’s true for all growers. When we make smart decisions, whether that’s adopting new technology or reading up on management tips, we accelerate success. But I realize that our marketplace is always evolving. It can be difficult enough to stay on top of changing production practices, let alone best practices for business. To help growers like you and [...]
At the top of most Americans’ New Year’s resolutions are things like eating healthier, exercising more and losing weight. Being health-conscious coming into the new year is a great way to get started on the right foot. But beyond physical health, it’s also a great idea to place the health of your finances, business and crop management practices on your resolution list, too. We start each year with an idea of what we hope to achieve and how we want our businesses to operate. Although we can’t predict every factor that will affect our farms, we can start the [...]
Biodiesel is one of the Illinois soybean checkoff program’s greatest success stories. This renewable fuel, made from soybean oil, contributes to cleaner air and fewer greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, and puts more money in the pockets of growers like you and me. The numbers are pretty astounding. Did you know that biodiesel increases the price of soybeans by $0.63 per bushel? One of the best ways to contribute to the value of soybeans is for us to use biodiesel in our trucks, tractors and combines. When we fill up our tanks with biodiesel on the farm, we’re not only [...]
As I sit in my combine watching the harvest fill up grain cart after grain cart, I’m sure I’ll wonder at times where my soybeans will find a home and who will use them. Considering this year’s challenges, I’m sure these concerns may be on the minds of other growers, too. There’s no debate that the soybean market caused a few headaches and sleepless nights the past few months. Between turbulent trade talks and less than ideal weather, this growing season has been a rollercoaster ride. Even with the highs and lows this year, I’m optimistic about where the [...]
The Illinois Soybean Association (ISA) checkoff and membership programs represent more than 43,000 soybean farmers in Illinois. The checkoff funds market development, soybean production and government relations efforts, while the membership program, Illinois Soybean Growers (ISG) and the Illinois Soybean Growers PAC actively advocates for positive and impactful legislation for farmers at local, state and national levels. ISA upholds the interests of Illinois soybean farmers through promotion, advocacy, research and education with the vision of becoming a trusted partner of Illinois soybean farmers to ensure their profitability now and for future generations.