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Arkansas Soybean Promotion Board

Soy News October 1999

Checkoff-Funded Technology Makes Deere Innovation Possible

Thanks to checkoff investments in plastics research, soybeans taken from the nation's fields may soon help shape some of the combines that harvest them. A soy-based plastic resin developed by the University of Delaware's ACRES (Affordable Com-posites from Renewable Resources) Program is being used to mold 100-pound panels that are featured on 30 of John Deere's new 50 Series family of combines. "By funding research to develop this soy resin technology and other new uses, we as soybean farmers are trying to increase domestic soy utilization and opportunities for profit," says USB New Uses Chair Gene Lewis, a soybean farmer from Hardinsburg, Indiana.

Part of the soybean checkoff's marketing strategy for new soybean uses is to identify potential marketing partners that can take a product to the commercialization stage. "From the beginning, John Deere expressed an interest in making farm equipment parts with soy-based resins," says Lewis. "This technology could not be brought to the commercialization stage without their involvement."

In 1998 Deere tested a baler door made with soy-based resins for its Series 6 balers. The soy resin door weighed just 37 pounds, about half the weight of a steel baler door. The test met with such success that Deere began exploring other opportunities to use the soy-resin technology to make other farm equipment parts. The checkoff has played a vital role in the development of soy-resin technology. Soybean Checkoff Seeks Record U.S. Soy Exports in 2000 Marketing Year

The soybean checkoff has made it a priority to exceed record levels of U.S. soybean exports for the 2000 marketing year. "Our goal is for the United States to set an all-time record for soy exports this upcoming marketing year," says United Soybean Board Chairman Bob Eilts. "At last month's USB board meeting, we approved a four-point action plan to increase U.S. soybean demand and utilization, both here and abroad, and to help alleviate the tremendous oversupply."

According to the National Agricultural Statistics Service, U.S. soybean carryover stocks have risen to a record level of 850 million bushels, an increase of 43 percent since June 1, 1998. This has contributed to the decline in the U.S. soybean crop value. NASS also projects U.S. soybean farmers will harvest a record 2.87 billion bushels of soybeans this fall.

Strained economies in Southeast Asia, along with the devaluation of currency and record soybean production in South America, have also put pressure on the value of U.S. soybeans.

"We recognize that U.S. and global soybean production is growing at a faster rate than utilization. However, the soybean checkoff is taking the necessary steps to increase U.S. soy exports now and in the future," explains Eilts, a soybean farmer from Central City, Nebraska.

The objectives of the international marketing action plan to increase exports include: gain a major share of new, large and expanding markets; increase market share in current markets; and capitalize on the unique competitive advantages of U.S. soybeans.

"Increasing U.S. soy exports is not going to be easy. Just like U.S. soybean farmers, the soybean checkoff is also facing declining investment revenues, which limit project funding," says Eilts. "But we have made a commitment to the farmers of this great nation. We are going to do everything possible to find a home for all our soybeans, which will help to increase the value of our crop." Checkoff Will Identify Markets for Proposed Aid Package

A proposed $1 billion food aid package being considered by Secretary of Agriculture Dan Glickman could provide short-term relief for U. S. soybean farmers looking to reduce the oversupply of soybeans and long-term market development for U.S. soy exports.

The billion-dollar purchase of surplus soybeans and soybean products would be donated through private volunteer organizations (PVOs) to feed the hungry in developing countries.

"Not only does the aid package help provide needy countries with proper nutrition, it also helps U.S. soybean farmers reduce the oversupply situation in this country and open up new market opportunities," says USB Interna-tional Marketing Chair Doug Magnus, a soybean farmer from Slayton, Minn.

Through a checkoff-funded international marketing program, the Ameri-can Soybean Association (ASA) will be working with PVOs to identify the needy countries. PVOs such as the Coalition for Food Aid, Save the Child-ren and Catholic Relief Charities provide humanitarian aid around the world.

"This is a positive way to marry [U.S. soybean farmers] with private volunteer organization activities," says Ellen Levinson, executive director for the Coalition for Food Aid. "There are several opportunities for us to work together in food-deficit countries." Arkansas Board Welcomes New Members

At its August meeting, the Arkansas Soybean Promotion Board welcomed two new board members. Mr. Bobby Crow of Dardanelle has been appointed by Governor Mike Huckabee to replace Mrs. Donna Horton, whose term expired on June 30. Mr. Crow was nominated to fill this position by the Arkansas Farm Bureau Federation. Also, Mr. David Feilke of Stuttgart was appointed to fill the position previously held by Mr. Paul McCutchen. Mr. Feilke was nominated by Riceland Foods, Inc.

The Board also elected officers for the 1999-2000 fiscal year during its August meeting. The Board reelected its current slate of officers who had served for one year. Those officers include Dr. Art Simpson, chairman, Mr. David Walt, vice-chairman, and Mrs. Mary Ratcliffe, secretary/treasurer.

The August meeting was held at the Pine Tree Branch Experiment Station at Pine Tree, Arkansas. During this meeting, the board had the opportunity to tour test plots for several of the ongoing research projects being funded through the checkoff program. USDA Announces Soybean Checkoff Request for Referendum

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has announced that it will conduct a request for referendum on the Soybean Promotion and Research Program (soybean checkoff), as authorized under the Soybean Promotion, Research and Consumer Information Act, during a four-week period from October 20, 1999, through November 16, 1999.

The request for referendum will determine whether U.S. soybean producers want a referendum on the Soybean Promotion and Research Program. The Soybean Promotion, Research and Consumer Information Act requires that the Secretary of Agriculture provide soybean producers the opportunity to petition for a referendum every five years.

Producers who certify that they produce soybeans at any time during the period beginning January 1, 1997, and ending November 16, 1999, are eligible to participate in the petition for a referendum. An eligible producer is defined as any person engaged in the growing of soybeans in the United States who owns or shares ownership and risk of loss of such soybeans. Eligible individuals who do not want a referendum need not take any action. Producers can obtain a form to request a referendum either in person, by mail or by fax from October 20, 1999, through November 16, 1999, from their county Farm Service Agency (FSA) offices. Individual producers and other producer entities can request a referendum at the county FSA office that maintains and processes the producer's administrative farm records. A producer not participating in FSA programs may request a referendum at the county FSA office serving the area where the producer owns or rents land.

Requests for referendum forms returned by mail must be postmarked by November 16, 1999, and received in the county FSA office within 10 working days. Requests for referendum forms returned in person or by fax must be received in the county FSA office by November 16, 1999.

If the USDA determines that at least 10 percent of the nation's 600,813 soybean producers have requested a referendum, a referendum will then be held within one year from that determination. No more than one-fifth of the producers who support having a referendum can be from any one state. Federal law requires that soybean checkoff dollars must be used to conduct the request for referendum process and, if desired, a referendum.

The procedures for the request for referendum were published in the August 20, 1999, issue of the Federal Register. The request for referendum dates were published in the September 13, 1999, issue of the Federal Register.

For more information on the request for referendum procedures, contact Ralph L. Tapp, Chief; Marketing Programs Branch, Room 2627-S; Livestock and Seed Program, AMS, USDA; STOP 0251; 1400 Independence Ave., S.W.; Washington, D.C. 20250-0251. The telephone number is (202) 720-1115. Arkansas Research Conference Scheduled

The University of Arkansas Division of Agriculture and the Arkansas Soybean Promotion Board have scheduled an Arkansas Soybean Research Conference to be held December 16 at the Brinkley Convention Center in Brinkley, Arkansas. The conference program will provide highlights from the University of Arkansas soybean research program, which is funded in part by the soybean checkoff program. Additional details will be made available through the Arkansas Cooperative Extension Service.

1999-2000 Arkansas Soybean Promotion Board:
Art Simpson, Marked Tree, Chair
David Walt, Dumas, Vice Chair
Mary Ratcliffe, Sweet Home, Secretary/Treasurer
Bobby Crow, Dardanelle
David Feilke, Stuttgart
Jerry Ford*, Lake Village
Thad Freeland, Tillar
Richard "Dick" Howard*, Clarkedale
Roger Pohlner, Fisher
* Designates representatives on the United Soybean Board. Staffing provided by Warren Carter, Arkansas Farm Bureau Federation.

For questions about any information in this newsletter or for more information on board-funded programs, please contact any of the above board members, call 501-228-1238, or write Arkansas Soybean Promotion Board, P. O. Box 31, Little Rock, AR 72203.

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For additional information about any board-related activity contact:

Arkansas Soybean Promotion Board
ATTN: Warren Carter
P.O. Box 31
Little Rock, AR 72203-0031
Phone: 501-228-1265

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