Illinois Soybeans

How much value is in Illinois soybeans? And how do individual farmers’ soybeans stack up against their neighbors? 

A new program will help find out – and it could result in future sales of Illinois beans.

To help ensure the soybeans’ future economic value, the Illinois Soybean Association (ISA) is leading a statewide program to measure protein and oil levels in Illinois soybeans from this fall’s harvest.

“We’re very proud of the yields we raise in Illinois, but we also need to make sure those beans are delivering the protein and oil levels that our customers expect,” says David Droste, soybean farmer from Nashville, Ill., and ISA director. “Investing in programs like this is a form of insurance to protect our market share and our soybean value. It’s essential we meet our customers’ expectations so that Illinois soybeans stay competitive in the global marketplace.” 

ISA represents more than 45,000 Illinois farmers through the state checkoff and membership efforts..

While 2014 marks the third year that ISA has supported this study, farmer involvement is critical this year, says Sharon Bard, manager, Centrec Consulting Group, LLC.

“Working together with farmers from every county in Illinois, we’ll be able to develop a county-level baseline measure of compositional quality for soybeans,” says Bard. “To help us do this, we’re asking farmers statewide to contribute one or two samples from the fall 2014 harvest.”

And the best news? Except for the sample, it won’t cost farmers a dime to participate.

Farmers who want to participate simply need to sign up for the program. A kit will be mailed to them. Farmers label the sample bag, add some beans and return the kit in the postage-paid envelope. Farmers pay no fees to participate, and individual results are kept confidential.

The end results could help raise prices, especially if the protein and oil levels in Illinois beans are high. That information can be marketed to customers. 

In addition, individual results will be returned to participants so farmers can see how their sample compared to state, regional and county levels. 

To sign up, visit www.ilsoy.org/composition/qualitysurvey or contact Pat Herron at pherron@centrec.com or 217-352-1190.

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About the author

Charlyn Fargo spent 27 years at the State Journal-Register covering agriculture, business and food. She currently is the Bureau Chief of County Fairs & Horse Racing with the Illinois Department of Agriculture. She is also a Registered Dietitian and writes a weekly syndicated nutrition column for Creator’s News Service (www.creators.com) and is co-owner of Simply Fair, a fair trade boutique at 2357 W. Monroe in Springfield. She has bachelor’s degrees in agricultural communications and food from the University of Illinois, Champaign and a master’s degree in nutrition from Eastern Illinois University. She and her husband, Brad Ware, have a daughter, Kate, and son, Jayden. When she’s not working or writing, she enjoys baking cookies for Simply From Scratch, a company she formed to support faith-based ministries.

View all articles by Charlyn Fargo

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