Illinois is the nation’s top soybean-producing state. The Illinois Soybean Association (ISA) takes some credit for that achievement, as our programs traditionally have helped farmers produce more soybeans per acre at a lower cost. ISA’s efforts offer the state benefits, too. The Illinois soybean crop adds approximately $7.48 billion in economic impact, while the soybean value chain employs 115,000 Illinoisans that create $849 million in state and local tax revenue.
Now, as today’s soybean marketplace changes quickly, producers and Illinois residents must adapt to new, evolving policies and regulations, an uncertain trade environment, and a steady stream of innovation and technology that must be evaluated and put into use.
ISA is broadening its reach to address these challenges and opportunities. With a new strategic direction put into place this fall, ISA is stimulating people associated with agriculture to think differently and look at topics outside of the usual realm that could affect the way business is done. ISA has launched several new soybean checkoff program projects with a concentrated focus on innovation, technology adoption and market growth, including:
- Looking at all angles of water management and positioning ISA to be at the center of water quality and water availability discussions.
- Successfully adopting technology and giving soybean producers direct exposure and training to the latest tools and advancements.
- Promoting B20 (20 percent biodiesel blended fuel) acceptance and defining new market development opportunities like the global maritime industry.
- Assessing Illinois transportation infrastructure needs and mapping out the landscape of 2030 so producers can better prepare for soybean transportation challenges ahead.
- Supporting greater containerized shipping options for soybeans and increasing Illinois producer profitability by capitalizing on this unique logistics advantage.
- Expanding the online ILSoyAdvisor program, particularly by including the latest tools and technologies that can enhance yield potential and profitability.
- Participating in more global food protein discussions and positioning soybeans in the larger feeding-the-future discussions.
In addition to these soybean checkoff-funded efforts, ISA’s policy and membership arm, Illinois Soybean Growers (ISG), is assessing the associated legislation and regulations. ISG represents the interests of 43,000 soybean producers on the issues that directly affect their profitability.
For example, ISG represents soybean producer interests in the ongoing trade war with China and the devastating impact of their retaliatory 25 percent tariff on U.S. soybeans. We are concerned about the long-lasting impact this will have on the Illinois soybean industry. When producers have free trade and market access, we are in a better position to grow exports and our economy.
While all Illinois soybean producers pay into the checkoff program, ISG’s policy work is supported through membership and corporate sponsors. Any Illinois resident with an interest in policy issues is invited to become an ISG informational member. It’s a free way to stay connected to all things soybean and see the impact on the state of Illinois. Learn more about ISA at the website ilsoy.org, and get details about ISG’s advocacy efforts at VoiceforSoy.org.