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Indiana Soybean Alliance watches budget carefully in down price yearIndiana Soybean Alliance watches budget carefully in down price year

Jane Ade Stevens talks about priorities for Hoosier soybean commodity group.

Tom Bechman 1

June 21, 2016

3 Min Read

The lower price of soybeans over the past marketing season has an unintended consequence besides cutting into your profit margin. It means less money available for the Indiana Soybean Alliance board of directors to allocate for various uses in Indiana.

“The checkoff is a federal program set up in 1990,” says Jane Ade Stevens, CEO of ISA. About $11 million was collected through checkoff funds from Indiana in the most recent year, she notes. Half of that goes to the United Soybean Board. The other half, $5.5 million in the recent budget, funds activities of ISA.


The soybean checkoff is one-half of 1% of the sale price of soybeans. “So when the price of soybeans is lower, less money is collected through the checkoff,” Ade Stevens observes. “That means our directors are looking even more closely at budgets and priorities this year.”

Here is a portion of an interview with Ade Stevens about current and future plans of ISA.

IPF: Has the drop in soybean prices impacted ISA’s programs?

Ade Stevens: Yes, it has been a lean year for checkoff funds. The ISA board has done a good job of prioritizing where available funds should go. Our new fiscal year will begin Oct. 1, and we have a three-year strategic plan. Between what the market does to checkoff funds and what the plan says, the board sorts out priorities for the coming year.

IPF: What are the top priorities in the long-range plan?

Ade Stevens: The first priority is further development of the livestock industry. Next on the list is production research. Another priority is promoting discovery of new uses for soybeans.

IPF: Who sets priorities at the national level?

Ade Stevens: The United Soybean Board has 70 directors. We are privileged to have four Hoosiers on that board.

IPF: Why is development of the livestock industry such a high priority?

Ade Stevens: It’s vital because the single biggest user of Indiana soybeans is livestock producers as a whole. We use checkoff dollars so our staff can work with partners in the livestock commodity groups, Indiana Farm Bureau Inc., and other groups and agencies to help address issues livestock producers face. We fund programs like Know Before You Build, which is designed to reduce any surprises the livestock producer might find during the process of putting up a new building. Part of that project is also aimed at helping them develop public relations efforts with their community. As part of the project, our staff advises farmers. We can’t use checkoff dollars for lobbying purposes, however, such as to push for changes in laws related to livestock zoning.

IPF: ISA will be a major sponsor of the new phenotypic center being constructed at the Purdue University Agronomy Research Center. What is ISA’s commitment to that project?

Ade Stevens: We announced late last year that ISA has committed $2 million to the project. Half goes toward the building project, and the other half will fund an endowment research program for soybean research at the facility.

IPF: What are plans for the Glass Barn at the Indiana State Fairgrounds?

Ade Stevens: That was a major investment of checkoff funds to promote agriculture and reach consumers, not only at the fair, but year-round with K-12 educational programs. Our budget will only allow redoing exhibits about every five years, but we tweak it annually. We’re also launching a new virtual learning program utilizing Indiana State Fair staff to reach students unable to attend on field trips.

About the Author(s)

Tom Bechman 1

Editor, Indiana Prairie Farm

Tom Bechman is an important cog in the Farm Progress machinery. In addition to serving as editor of Indiana Prairie Farmer, Tom is nationally known for his coverage of Midwest agronomy, conservation, no-till farming, farm management, farm safety, high-tech farming and personal property tax relief. His byline appears monthly in many of the 18 state and regional farm magazines published by Farm Progress.

"I consider it my responsibility and opportunity as a farm magazine editor to supply useful information that will help today's farm families survive and thrive," the veteran editor says.

Tom graduated from Whiteland (Ind.) High School, earned his B.S. in animal science and agricultural education from Purdue University in 1975 and an M.S. in dairy nutrition two years later. He first joined the magazine as a field editor in 1981 after four years as a vocational agriculture teacher.

Tom enjoys interacting with farm families, university specialists and industry leaders, gathering and sifting through loads of information available in agriculture today. "Whenever I find a new idea or a new thought that could either improve someone's life or their income, I consider it a personal challenge to discover how to present it in the most useful form, " he says.

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