Iowa native who is now the editor of the ISR

(Photo: Iowa Soybean Association / Joclyn Bushman)

No shortcuts: Just time, effort and investment

September 1, 2023 | Bethany Baratta

Search ‘life hacks’ using your favorite online browser and you’d be convinced that you can change or improve your life with tips, tricks and often frugal shortcuts.

In just a few steps, you can fashion a used bottle into a cord holder, transform a Pringles can into spaghetti noodle storage, and effortlessly peel a boiled egg.

These creative approaches might be shortcuts to get from one point to another, but real outcomes require time, effort and dollars.

The soybean industry is a shining example. Your checkoff investment produces valuable results in the areas of education, promotion and research. An independent study by Cornell University quantified the ROI at $12.34 in added value for every dollar invested in the checkoff.

Education comes in many formats — it’s engaging with consumers locally and globally about the uses of soy in their diets and homes, for livestock, and a multitude of other purposes. Educational efforts, along with product innovation, routinely generate demand for soybeans and soybean products. The Iowa Soybean Review routinely shows how these conversations sell more soy — in the form of Goodyear tires, dust suppressant, tofu and soy-backed artificial turf. Soy checkoff investments made toward demand-enhancing research and promotion returned an average value of $18.18.

We know that agriculture, especially, is a relationships-based business. Therefore, visiting customers where they are, meeting face-to-face in processing plants and boardrooms is vital in building trust and customer preference for U.S. soy. Every dollar spent by U.S. soybean farmers on international marketing generates $17.95 in value, the Cornell study found.

Checkoff dollars also support research that identifies solutions to on-farm challenges. By leveraging non-checkoff resources, Iowa Soybean Association’s (ISA) Research Center for Farming Innovation (RCFI) tests hypotheses with on-farm trials. The RCFI team then takes the results and turns them into usable data for farmers (see Page 22-23 for examples). Your checkoff investment in production research, leveraged with support from industry and academic partners, returns an average value of $9.42.

There are no ‘hacks’ when it comes to the gains earned in soybean demand, sales and productivity. Only time, attention and investment. And few better examples exist than the ROI of your soybean checkoff.