Soybean farmers from across the country were in Alabama’s Port City Feb. 19-23 to discuss nearly $100 million in checkoff funds the United Soybean Board (USB) invests annually. Increased soybean acres in Alabama will soon mean more representation for the state on the 73-member board.
Pickens County soybean farmer Annie Dee is Alabama’s USB representative. She recently was appointed to her third, three-year term and was excited to welcome USB members, their spouses and USB contractors to Mobile. She said Alabama will gain a second USB member in December.
“The number of state representatives is governed by how many soybean acres your state has (with a limit of four per state),” Dee said. “I’m excited about another representative on the board, and we’re going to start looking for someone to fill that role soon.”
Soybean production in Alabama has grown from 185,000 harvested acres in 2007 to 345,000 acres in 2017, according to U.S. Department of Agriculture reports.
Dee said the USB’s February meeting focused on annual checkoff-funded strategies. A June meeting will set priorities for spending, and a July meeting will select which projects to fund.
“It’s a privilege and honor to represent our state on this committee,” she said. “We are very diligent in how we invest the farmers’ contributions to the checkoff. We take our responsibility seriously to make sure we spend farmers’ dollars wisely.”
During her state report, Dee showed the Farming Feeds Alabama video produced by Alabama Soybean Producers. The three-minute video features Alabama soybean farmers sharing their love for farming. Later that evening, Alabama Soybean Producers sponsored a dinner and reception, which included seafood and barbecue. For many USB members, it was their first trip to Alabama.
“The weather has been great, the food was delicious, and the reception was so much fun,” said USB Vice Chair Keith Tapp of northwestern Kentucky. “Annie is a great board member. She’s actively engaged on her farm, so she knows the challenges our farmers face. She’s not shy about stepping up to the mic during a meeting to discuss important issues.”
Polly Ruhland of St. Louis, Missouri, is USB’s chief executive officer. She said the USB works on farmers’ behalf so they can work on their farm.
“Farmers are concentrating on raising soybeans and doing the best job they can on their farm to be profitable,” she said. “USB works for them by focusing on better beans, more customers and promoting soybeans.”