Q: What is a checkoff program?
A: Checkoff programs allow farmers to work together to support the promotion of the commodities they produce. Under a checkoff program, a small portion of a farmer’s proceeds are collected when his or her grain or livestock is sold. The money is put into a fund and is invested by an elected farmer board into programs to grow demand and increase farmer profitability.
Q: Why does Indiana need a soybean checkoff program?
A: The soybean checkoff program allows Indiana soybean farmers to invest in programs that enhance markets and ultimately, the value of soybeans. Producer checkoff programs are an important tool in building new demand and educating on issues that threaten the future of farming. In the past, soybean checkoff funds across the U.S. have been used to conduct research that has led to the development of many new products. In Indiana, soybean checkoff funds are being invested in grain marketing, production research, environmental programs, biofuels and livestock promotion and new uses research.
Q: How does Indiana’s soybean checkoff program work?
A: Indiana soybean farmers contribute a portion of their sale proceeds to the checkoff program. Currently, soybean farmers invest 0.5% of the net market price for each bushel of soybeans sold. Half of these collected funds are retained and administered by the United Soybean Board; the other half is distributed to Indiana Soybean Alliance (ISA), to be managed by our board of directors.
Q: What is done with the money collected?
A: The ISA has a budget and plan of work that focuses on enhancing the value of soybeans for Indiana soybean farmers. ISA created a strategic plan with the overarching goal of improving the supply and demand environment for Indiana soybean farmers. The strategic plan focuses on grain marketing, biofuels, production research, environmental programs, public affairs, livestock and new uses. These initiatives include:
- Allocating soybean checkoff funds to help communicate the benefit of biofuels
Working with local communities to help them understand the value livestock farms bring through outreach
- Funding projects looking at expanding market opportunities overseas for meat, egg and dairy products
- Supporting on-farm research that helps soybean farmers maximize their farms’ performance, including INfield Advantage and Purdue’s On-Farm Research program
- Investing in production research at Purdue University and other universities
- Ensuring there are markets and the infrastructure is in place to take advantage of opportunities
- Educating consumers and youth about how soybeans are raised today and who is raising them, including being an active member of Indiana’s Family of Farmers
- Funding teacher trainings in partnership with Indiana FFA and Purdue University
- Distributing educational materials, including the Barnyard Chronicles, to schools across the state