Information is a powerful tool, especially in regards to financial sustainability and viability of soybeans grown in Wisconsin. This is why the Wisconsin Soybean Marketing Board (WSMB) is dedicated to ensuring your checkoff dollars are being invested in research efforts that will increase farmer profitability here in Wisconsin. Board members, including president Patrick Mullooly, discuss with farmers about ideas for checkoff dollar usage and answer questions they have about how their dollars are supporting their core mission of production research, market development and new uses – and improve the profitability. Learn about a few of the projects WSMB is investing in, as well as providing some insight into projects that were made possible with the help of checkoff dollars.
Securing a Commercial Soybean Crushing Facility in Wisconsin
The Wisconsin Soybean Marketing Board has long pushed for a soybean crushing facility in the state. Construction is underway on a facility near Waupun, which is a good start. In FY23, WSMB funded a new feasibility study, with hopes of a facility being built with capacity to crush more than 40 million soybeans annually. Why invest in such a study? By building a crushing plant in Wisconsin, farmers can greatly improve their efficiency, improve basis, reduce trucking fees, and speed up the timeline for getting their products to market. It’s important to note that checkoff dollars do not go toward funding the infrastructure of a crush plant. Rather, checkoff investments can be made for behind-the-scenes work, such as research, promoting the project, providing valuable data about the impact of a facility in the state and serving as a strong industry partner. All of these pieces are vital to reaching the goal of adding soybean crush capacity in Wisconsin. Investing checkoff dollars is a valuable part of this process for WSMB.
Improving Transportation of Crops
Another main point of interest for the WSMB is improving the transportation arteries for crops. Wisconsin crop transportation is primarily dependent on rail and trucks. A goal for Wisconsin farmers is to move a significant portion of this transport to boats to further improve efficiencies. The Great Lakes utilize a network of locks, canals, and channels known as the St. Lawrence Seaway for cargo movement, with Wisconsin ports located in Green Bay and Milwaukee. WSMB is looking to revitalize the port of Milwaukee to get more agricultural products moving out of state and being able to make good use of the St. Lawrence Seaway. Checkoff dollars are being used to support this project with research and building connections with exporters and processors.
Ways Your Checkoff Dollars Have Already Been Used
The Wisconsin Soybean Marketing Board was first established in 1983, and has been dedicated to helping farmers ever since. Ten years later, the federal soybean checkoff was established. One of the biggest uses for checkoff dollars to help growers in the midwest is research. In 2022, nine research projects were funded in the midwest by checkoff dollars, two of which were headed by Dr. Shawn Conley and Dr. Damon Smith, both from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. You can see their research results at BadgerCropDoc.com
Dr. Shawn Conley’s research involves looking into the ROI of soybean management at the field level. His goal is to develop a database tool to help farmers that are struggling with management issues, such as pre-plant pest management, seeding rates and costs, and other input factors. With the completion of this project, this tool will be available to all growers in the form of a phone app.
Dr. Damon Smith’s research focuses on diseases that soybeans in the North Central region are susceptible to. Diseases such as white mold, frogeye leaf spot, and brown stem rot can result in significant costs for the grower and the environment, so the goal of this project is to develop strategies to sustainably manage these diseases.
Learn How You Can Get Involved
Your checkoff dollars play a crucial role in advancing the agricultural sector in Wisconsin. They are being utilized to fund innovative projects and research, aimed at enhancing farmer profitability and improving the efficiency of various processes. WSMB is committed to using these funds to tackle key issues and bring about positive changes for local growers. As a stakeholder in the community, your continued support and involvement can help shape the future of farming in Wisconsin. To learn more about how you can influence how your checkoff dollars are being invested in research and market growth projects, visit our resources page or check out our podcast!