The process: WSMB uses RFPs to drive profitability

Categories: WSMBPublished On: June 14, 20232.2 min read

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There are endless possibilities for the soybean industry, and by wisely investing checkoff dollars, the Wisconsin Soybean Marketing Board (WSMB) is playing a vital role in expanding the market for Wisconsin soybeans through its request for proposals (RFP).

On June 27, WSMB will review submitted projects, critically evaluating them from a farmer standpoint to determine which have the potential to boost profitability for Wisconsin soybean growers.

“We opened this RFP because we’re looking for different projects to invest checkoff dollars in,” said WSMB President Patrick Mullooly. “We’re exploring new avenues and new partners that will grow the bottom line for our growers.”

The RFPs aim to support projects in the areas of value-added soy products, growing and developing markets, promotion and education.

“We’re interested in projects focused on new uses, new markets and education – our research RFP is separate and will be available in the fall,” Mullooly said. “For example, one of the bigger projects that has come about is the Port of Milwaukee and we’d really like to get soybeans flowing through there.”

With over 40 projects to review, the farmer-led WSMB board has its work cut out for them. Luckily, they have a strategy for narrowing down the list of projects to fund.

“In September 2022, we sat down and built a strategic plan, listing what our priorities were,” Mullooly said. “When evaluating the projects, we will revisit our strategic plan and use it to help us map out which projects we will fund. We’re not sure how many we’ll fund but we must do our due diligence and look over each one.”

Who knows what Wisconsin soybean growers need better than their fellow farmers? No one.

The people deciding which projects to invest in are growers themselves, with the knowledge and expertise to make informed decisions on behalf of the state’s geographically diverse farming population.

“These projects will be funded by Wisconsin soybean farmer checkoff dollars and so it makes sense that they’re reviewed by growers,” Mullooly said. “We know that what may help a grower in southern Wisconsin may not be all that important to a grower in northern Wisconsin. So, as a board we are good about meeting in the middle to do what’s best for the majority of the growers in the state, which may differ because of the big geography that we have.”

Only time will tell what strides the soybean industry will make in the future. But, with WSMB wisely directing checkoff dollars, the value of Wisconsin’s soybeans has the potential to increase through strategic investments in innovative projects. The RFP process is the first step in securing this future.