Talking about both promoting soybeans and pork at the same time is easy for Mike Beard, Frankfort. A soybean producer and currently a member of the Untied Soybean Board, Beard and his family are also involved in the hog business. More than 30,000 pigs are produced on their farm each year.
Beard was the United Soybean Board's spokesman at the recent kickoff for National Farm/City Week in Indianapolis. The Untied Soybean Board, through use of checkoff funds, helped sponsor the National Farm/City Week event.
"Animal agriculture is the number one ser of soybeans in this country," he says. "We're happy to be involved in the National Farm/City Week, (this year emphasizing myth vs. fact in animal agriculture), since we want to demonstrate support for our number one customer."
In a year that may yet see USDA post the highest total number of soybeans ever produced by the time final statistics for 2009 are released, Beard says it's especially important to support customers, both domestically and abroad. "We all live in the country, both grain and hog producers," he noted. "We need to support each other. As a hog producer, I like to support pork as one of the best sources of protein in the world."
"We need to get the message across that as livestock producers, we take care of our animals because that's what we do," he continues. "Each one of the 68 members of the united Soybean Board of Directors is committed to better understanding of rural issues by suburbanites and urbanites.
"Projections out now say that by 2040, we may need a 70% increase in the food supply worldwide to meet the growth in population. To me, it's very simple. A bumper sticker I say recently says it better than I could in any other way: No farms equals no food."
Beard is also proud of what farmers have been able to do for urban and suburban populations, whether they realize it or not. "Americans spend less on food per household than in any other country on the globe," he says. "Farms also generate 20 billion dollars in tax revenue nationally, and employ more than two million people. This time of year is a perfect time to celebrate agriculture. When we're thinking about food and giving thanks for all that we have. Too many people just take it for granted."