By Debra Davis
Madison County farmer Sam Butler has been appointed by Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue to the United Soybean Board (USB). Butler, along with seven other new farmer-leaders and 11 reappointed board members, will be sworn in at the annual USB meeting in December and will serve a three-year term.
“It is an honor to serve and represent my fellow soybean farmers on the USB,” said Butler, 44, who farms with his father, Charles, and brother, Matt, in the Poplar Ridge community near New Hope. “The checkoff directly benefits soybean farmers by expanding markets and increasing the uses and demand for beans we produce.”
Butler is a fifth-generation farmer and a fourth-generation graduate of Auburn University, where he received a bachelor’s degree in agricultural economics and an MBA. He served as the Alabama director for the American Soybean Association (ASA) from 2010-2019 and is a former president of the Alabama Soybean and Corn Association.
The ASA mission focuses on policy development and implementation to benefit soybean producers. In contrast, the USB is precluded from politics and allocates farmer checkoff money for education, promotion and research.
In addition to soybeans, the Butlers grow corn, wheat and cotton in a rotation on their farm.
The soy checkoff provides significant value to farmers by leveraging checkoff funds in investments and programs to build preference for U.S. soy across the country and around the world. Authorized by the Soybean Promotion, Research, and Consumer Information Act, the United Soybean Board is composed of 78 members representing 29 states. The number of seats is determined based on bushels produced in each region. Members must be soybean farmers nominated by a Qualified State Soybean Board. In Alabama, that board is the Alabama Soybean Producers, an affiliate of the Alabama Farmers Federation.
Pickens County farmer Annie Dee recently completed her third three-year term on the USB.
Butler joins Dallas County farmer Wendy Yeager on the board. Yeager was appointed last year.
The Federation’s Carla Hornady said she appreciates Butler’s willingness to serve and provide guidance on the USB.
“Alabama farmers benefit from USB’s work as they administer checkoff activities focused on research and market development,” said Hornady, the Federation’s Soybean Division director. “Sam will join Wendy in representing Alabama well. We also appreciate Annie’s service for the past nine years. She has made a significant impact on the board.”
USB Chair Jim Carroll III from Arkansas said each board member plays an integral role by lending expertise and industry insights to determine checkoff investments that benefit all U.S. soybean farmers.
“The soy checkoff is led by a dedicated and diverse group of farmers, and I look forward to working with each of the newly appointed leaders to move our industry forward and further innovation,” Carroll said.
Visit unitedsoybean.org to learn more about the work of the soy checkoff.
About United Soybean Board: United Soybean Board’s 78 volunteer farmer-directors work on behalf of all U.S. soybean farmers to achieve maximum value for their soy checkoff investments. These volunteers invest and leverage checkoff funds in programs and partnerships to drive soybean innovation beyond the bushel and increase preference for U.S. soy. That preference is based on U.S. soybean meal and oil quality and the sustainability of U.S. soybean farmers. As stipulated in the federal Soybean Promotion, Research, and Consumer Information Act, the USDA Agricultural Marketing Service has oversight responsibilities for USB and the soy checkoff. For more information on the United Soybean Board, visit unitedsoybean.org.