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  • Illinois Soybean Association

Biodiesel remains a priority for Illinois Soybean Assn.’s checkoff-funded projects in 2022

The Illinois Soybean Association announced its lineup of fiscal year (FY) 2022 checkoff-funded projects, starting Sept. 1, that put Illinois soybean farmers’ profitability at the center of their work by growing opportunities for soybean uses, markets, accessibility and demand.

“We have a new board, a growing staff, and an ambitious lineup of projects for FY22 that will equip Illinois soybean farmers for the future,” said Steve Pitstick, ISA chairman. “Projects will be funded in three critical areas—market development, government relations and utilization. These projects were each born to help increase the value, awareness, and the opportunities for Illinois soybeans. That translates into profitability and sustainability for our 43,000 farmers across the state.” Biodiesel remains a priority for the Government Relations Committee, with seven of its 17 projects centered on B20 education and outreach, and ongoing partnerships with the American Lung Association and National Biodiesel Board. Other policy-focused projects of note include an initiative to conduct outreach to Illinois farmers and learn about what current federal farm programs are working, what hasn’t been working, and what they need on their farms from federal farm policy.

Another key project for the committee, being led by committee chair Brad Daugherty, is the Midwest Soybean Collaborative, a coalition of leading soybean-producing states committed to expanding agricultural solutions through innovative thinking and programming on issues identified as having the most significant impact on the success of soybean growers across the Midwest.

Under the leadership of committee chair Jim Martin, the Utilization Committee will focus on enhancing the ILSoyAdvisor experience, with plans for a website redesign and the development of a new app. ILSoyAdvisor has been a cornerstone of actionable, agronomic information and updates to Illinois soybean farmers, and ISA is looking forward to continuing to offer those resources in new ways in the new fiscal year.

A new carbon education campaign for farmers called CarbonSmart will focus on providing nonbiased education to Illinois soybean farmers and CCAs around the “carbon conversation,” including basic information on sequestering, credits and the carbon market and banks. Messaging will also highlight the benefits of regenerative ag practices in general. Program tactics will help farmers wade through the quickly emerging information from companies providing various programs and measurements to help them understand the factors involved and whether they qualify to participate.

Precision Conservation Management, a program brought to farmers by Illinois Corn and ISA, works to research on-farm conservation practices and the financial implications of their adoption. PCM combines precision technology and data management with farm business and financials to help farmers manage, adopt, and adapt conservation practices long-term and improve on-farm decision-making. The program will continue to expand in FY22 as part of the strategic partnership, and funding will be utilized to provide continued technical support and cost share to the established FY21 multicounty regions in Illinois. With the continued funding, PCM and its data can be directly applicable to most Illinois farms, and specific geographics across state lines.

ISA’s farmer biodiesel campaign will continue into FY22 and will expand beyond the education of the direct benefits to farmers and include substantiation to overcome key obstacles deterring biodiesel use: preconceived notions or misconceptions about today’s biodiesel quality and equipment integration.

The Market Development Committee, led by committee chair Scott Gaffner, will increase efforts around Illinois animal ag support programs, working in collaboration with the Illinois Pork Producers, Illinois Milk Producers, Illinois Beef Association, and Illinois Livestock Development Group. These groups all work to develop and promote the animal ag industry in Illinois while creating a market for the largest consumers of soybeans in the animal protein industry. This committee will actively engage with farmers and buyers in the trade and exports space, increasing the opportunities for global consumption of soy from Illinois. Committee members will support ISA’s continued work with USSEC on projects surrounding Egypt, the Soy Excellence Center goal of expansion, and soy protein promotion initiatives for human consumption in Indonesia.

A trade communications project will provide farmer education through interactive export journeys in the form of an interactive world map. This map will allow farmers to choose their own journey from farm to market, showcasing the different avenues Illinois soy can take once it leaves the farm, and how it ultimately gets to its destination at a domestic crush facility or an international export market.

Other committee projects include a bridge bundling solicitation package, a lock-and-dam project, and an incentive bridge-replacement program for rural Illinois counties.

ISA will continue to communicate the work of checkoff-funded projects through multiple communications channels, including 10 issues of Illinois Field & Bean, ISA’s in-house publication going to more than 40,000 farmer mailboxes each issue.

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