About the Checkoff

How does the checkoff work?

The Soybean Promotion, Research, and Consumer Information Act established the national soybean checkoff program as part of the 1990 Farm Bill. It requires that all soybean farmers pay into the soy checkoff at the first point of purchase.


How are checkoff funds used?

Checkoff funds are used for promotion, research and education at both the state and national levels. By law, no checkoff dollars can be used to fund legislative activities, so ISA generates non-checkoff funding in a variety of ways. The Checkoff Act & Order governs the soybean checkoff and is up for renewal (vote) by soybean farmers every five years through the Soybean Request for Referendum.

Soybean Request for Referendum FAQ

A Request for Referendum is an opportunity for producers to say they would like to be offered a referendum on the Soybean Checkoff Program. The Request for Referendum is conducted every 5 years. Additional information and a FAQ can be found on the U.S. Department of Agriculture Soybean Request for Referendum page.

Can I request a checkoff refund?

The Checkoff Act & Order does not include a refund provision. Producers may instead direct their total assessment to the United Soybean Board by completing a Producer Redirection of Checkoff Assessments FormWe welcome the opportunity to connect with you about the many ways ISA is driven to deliver on behalf of soybean farmers like you courtesy of the investment you make in the industry.

What if I raise organic crops?  

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Agricultural Marketing Service announced the final rules on January 14, 2005, for the exemption for organic producers and marketers from payment assessments under research and promotion boards, to be effective 30 days from publication.

The final rule states that in order to obtain an assessment exemption, a person must operate under a NOP-approved organic system plan and must produce and market only commodities eligible for a "100 percent organic" label under the National Organic Program (NOP). This applies to all commodities produced and marketed by the person, not only those covered by the applicable research and promotion program under which the exemption is sought. 

In order to qualify for an exemption, Iowa organic producers and marketers must apply to the United Soybean Board, 16305 Swingley Ridge Rd. Ste 150, 63017. The form requests the following information: the applicant’s name, name and address of the company, telephone and fax numbers, e-mail address (optional), a copy of the applicant’s organic farm or organic handling certificate provided by a USDA-accredited certifying agent under the Organic Foods Production Act of 1990, and a signed certification that the applicant meets all of the requirements specified for an assessment exemption. This signed certification includes providing a list of commodities marketed by the applicant and assertions that the applicant is not a split operation and produces and markets only products eligible to be labeled as 100% organic. 

Organic producers and marketers must apply for the exemption annually. Organic producers and marketers that qualify for this national exemption are still subject to the state checkoff. According to Chapter 185 of the Iowa Code, 1/4 of 1% of the net market value must be assessed from the sale of any Iowa soybeans. Chapter 185 of the Iowa Code also has a refund provision. The organic producer must apply within 60 days after the deduction to the Iowa Soybean Association. Information may be requested from the Iowa Soybean Association by calling 515-251-8640. 

Click here to download the exemption application forms or call 515-251-8640 to request a copy by mail. 

What if I raise specialty crops?  

Visit soybeanpremiums.org for more information. 

How do I declare non-producer status?  

Form LS-48 must be completed by a seller to prove the soybeans have already been checked off.