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Third-generation Illinois farmer takes helm of USB

United Soybean Board Dan Farney in a soybean field
United Soybean Board farmer-leaders elected Dan Farney from Morton, Illinois, as 2021 USB chairman.
United Soybean Board reorganizes: Dan Farney selected chairman, Ralph Lott of New York is vice chair.

Illinois farmer Dan Farney is the new chairman of the United Soybean Board.

Farney, 64, is starting his eighth year on the board, which invests checkoff funds to drive soybean innovation. Members are appointed to the board by the secretary of agriculture. There are 78 directors on the board, with representation from all soybean-growing areas of the U.S. Each state may have no more than four directors, Farney said.

Prior to joining the United Soybean Board, he was on the Illinois Soybean Association board. He is a third-generation farmer who farms near Morton, Illinois, raising about 300 acres of soybeans each year.

Farney looks forward to working with the other board members to select projects to drive demand for soy products and to getting back to normal, which hopefully includes in-person meetings in 2021.

"It's just a great group of people to work with," said Farney, who's been on the USB executive committee for four years and was most recently vice chairman.

One project Farney is fascinated with is a new soy-based concrete durability enhancer called PoreShield, which is being used in Indiana.  On average, 200 bushels of soybeans are used for every two-lane mile of concrete highway joint treated with PoreShield. In 2020, PoreShield will be applied to 77 bridge decks in Indiana totaling 330,000 square feet, with plans for future expansion.

Not only does PoreShield make the concrete last longer, he said, it's also safer for workers who apply the sealant. There's also another project to use soybean oil in asphalt, which will be a great demand booster for soybean oil, Farney said.

Focus areas

USB is focused on three areas for investment: meal, oil and sustainability. During board meetings held virtually Dec. 9-10 directors considered market impacts and challenges in 2020 as well as opportunities that will affect soybean value into 2021.

“Soybean farmers are the definition of resilient,” said USB CEO Polly Ruhland. “You can’t knock them down, and you certainly can’t count them out. The checkoff is a reflection of that spirit. Your dedicated farmer-leaders not only push the checkoff forward, but they also rightly expect more from each successive project in which they invest.”

Key successes for 2020 that were discussed included checkoff-funded research, planning, analysis and design to inform the dredging of the lower Mississippi River and opening new export channels for U.S. soybeans. Demand was driven domestically as well, with large companies such as Skechers and Goodyear committing to using more U.S. soybean oil than ever in their products.

New leaders

The newly elected USB Executive Committee includes:

  • Ralph Lott II, Vice Chair — New York
  • David Iverson, Secretary — South Dakota
  • Meagan Kaiser, Treasurer — Missouri
  • Mark Seib — Indiana
  • Rochelle Krusemark — Minnesota
  • Tom Oswald — Iowa
  • Belinda Burrier — Maryland
  • Steve Reinhard — Ohio
  • Ed Lammers — Nebraska
  • Jim Carroll III, Past Chair (Ex Officio) — Arkansas

In addition, three farmer-directors were elected to serve on the Strategic Management Committee:

  • Philip Good — Mississippi
  • Andy Fabin — Pennsylvania
  • Doug Winter — Illinois
TAGS: Soybeans Crops
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