After a total of nearly 17 years on both the Illinois Soybean Board and the United Soybean Board, Phil Bradshaw has resigned from the United Soybean Board effective Dec. 7 saying it's time to step down and let somebody else do it. Bradshaw, a former chairman of USB, says he appreciates the opportunities soybean farmers let him have.
"I hope we've done some good," Bradshaw said. "I think the fact that we have the prices we have today is the fact that they've been able to collect our money through the soybean checkoff and invest that money wisely to drive up the demand and drive up the prices we receive."
Bradshaw notes that export demand is one of the main drivers of recent high soybean prices. He says about 60% of the soybean crop grown in the U.S. is exported and rivers play a large role in being able to export the crop.
"That water transportation is critical to us," Bradshaw said. "If you look at China this is their food source, look at Asia and a lot of the world; it's our market but it's their source of food."
USB has been making an effort to remind growers who their customers really are and Bradshaw says the ultimate soybean buyer is the livestock industry and that it's important to remember that it doesn't just end when farmers sell their crop, that has to be moved into that market.
As to educating consumers about soybeans and how they are grown and used, Bradshaw says USB plans to become more visible. He says membership in the U.S. Farmers and Ranchers Alliance is a big part of that effort. Bradshaw says USFRA is reaching out and responding to a recent survey of consumers, which showed consumers want to know why farmers do what they do.