January 20, 2009

Troubles in soy land

With soy-based products and chemicals conquering the biobased market, troubles over money seem to be infesting the US soybean industry. and the US Department of Agriculture is rooting out the problem.

Last month, the American Soybean Association (ASA) asked the US Department of Agriculture to investigate possible mismanaged funding and wasteful spending at the United Soybean Board (USB), which operates the national soybean checkoff and the U.S. Soybean Export Council.

The ASA is the policy-making arm for soybean growers, while the USB focuses on industry relations and market access, among other things. The Export Council is funded with checkoff and taxpayer dollars. The USB's checkoff program, which is credited for finding more uses and buyers for US soybeans, is said to have collected about $140 million in 2008 from farmers, who contribute 0.5 percent of market price from each bushel of soybeans.

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