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Study shows soy checkoff’s big ROI

Categories: WSMB, WSPPublished On: September 20, 20232.6 min read

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The National Oilseed Processors Association (NOPA) and the United Soybean Board (USB) are pleased to announce the availability of a new study, The Economic Impact of the U.S. Soybeans & End Products on the U.S. Economy, that examines the value of the American soybean industry. To develop the study, NOPA and USB commissioned LMC International Ltd., an independent economic consulting firm specializing in global agricultural commodity and agribusiness sectors.  

“As indicated by this study’s findings, the economic contributions of the soybean processing and refining sectors to the U.S. economy are substantial, connecting soybean farmers with end users. Soybean processors convert soybeans into meal and oil,” NOPA President Thomas Hammer said. “These value-added products are used in food, feed, industrial products and biofuels, supporting billions of dollars in domestic wages and tens of thousands of good paying jobs in the United States.”  

This 33-page study analyzes the soybean value chain’s impact on the U.S. economy based on data from crop years 2019/20 to 2021/22. As highlighted in the report summary, during this period:  

  • The total economic impact on the U.S. economy from the soybean sector averaged $124 billion, including $85.7 billion from soy production and $9.8 billion from soybean processing — the U.S. soy sector accounts for approximately 0.6 percent of the U.S. gross domestic product. 
  • There are more than 500,000 individuals involved in soy farm decision-making. This includes 223,000 paid, full-time equivalent jobs and an additional 62,000 family members, beyond growers, who reside on farms and are integral to soybean farming operations.  
  • The total wage impact of the sector averaged $10 billion.  

“It’s reaffirming to see that the U.S. soybean industry has such a tremendous impact on U.S. farmers and the economy overall,” said. USB Chair Meagan Kaiser, who farms in Missouri. “When we think about soy’s role in food security, renewable energy and more than 1,000 products on the market, it may be surprising to the everyday consumer how our product extends across multiple sectors. This report, funded by our U.S. soybean farmers, allows soy as an often invisible ingredient to become a visible contribution and sustainable solution for our future.”  

Economic impacts highlighted in the study are quantified in terms of revenue, wages, jobs and the number of people dependent on the sector — all focused on the production, distribution and use of soybeans and soybean products, spanning across the value chain, from soybean farming and production to consumers and exports. Findings are presented, with educational intent, at the national and state level and by congressional district. The study also includes one-page summaries for 39 key states where the soybean industry primarily operates.  

This study is just one example of the many ways Wisconsin soybean checkoff dollars are being invested to better the industry. For every $1 invested in the checkoff, Wisconsin soybean farmers see a $12.34 return on investment. The Wisconsin Soybean Marketing Board (WSMB) will continue to work with USB to make wise checkoff investments in production research, market development and new uses. 

A copy of the complete study and related national and state summary sheets are available for download from NOPA’s website at