The Ohio Soybean Association (OSA) and the Ohio Soybean Council (OSC) worked to improve profitability and awareness of the industry in 2010 and numerous successes were achieved.
OSC and the soybean checkoff focused on research, development, promotion and education initiatives, while OSA worked in areas that included producer education and policy development. Because checkoff dollars cannot be used for legislative activities, this partnership will continue to play an important role in keeping Ohio’s 26,000 soybean farmers profitable in an increasingly competitive industry.
Below are some examples of their success in 2010:
Soy bioproducts: More than a decade ago, OSC and its partner, Battelle, began the development of a soy-based toner. In 2010, this technology made it to the campus of The Ohio State University (OSU). The toner was adopted into many of the printers on campus, making the university one of the leading users of soy-based toner in the nation.
OSC also launched a consumer-friendly, interactive website this year (www.soyinside.org) that helps consumers to “go green” by purchasing bioproducts made from agriculturally derived, renewable resources such as soybeans.
Thanks to the legislative work of OSA, Senate Bill 131 was signed into law in 2010 requiring all Ohio government entities to purchase bioproducts when they are readily available, of equal or better quality and do not cost significantly more than the traditional product. OSA has been working hard to encourage city and township governments to adopt similar biopreferred resolutions for their own purchasing. To date, the cities of Hilliard, Grove City, Alliance, Marion, Marysville and the Village of Milan have adopted resolutions.
Soy biodiesel: OSC continued this year to build demand for this renewable, environmentally friendly fuel using many avenues ranging from researching new uses for biodiesel byproducts to promoting the fuel’s engine lubricity benefits at all blend levels. OSC also increased emphasis in the promotion of Bioheat for home-heating oil systems.
One major success in the soy biodiesel industry came when the rules for the federal Renewable Fuels Standard were finalized. The first draft of these rules contained incorrect land-use assumptions that put soy biodiesel at a disadvantage. Along with the National Biodiesel Board (NBB) and the American Soybean Association (ASA), OSA coordinated a grassroots effort in Ohio to encourage farmers and other industry stakeholders to ask the U.S. government to take a second look at the incorrect assumptions. This effort was successful and the rules were amended. Now, soy biodiesel is included in a U.S. government mandate for the use of 800 million gallons of biodiesel by the end of 2011.
At the end of 2009, a biodiesel tax credit for fuel blenders lapsed and OSA, along with ASA, NBB and other stakeholder groups, advocated for its renewal, which proved to be successful. On Dec. 16, 2010, Congress issued an extension of the tax credit, which encourages businesses and consumers to use biodiesel to reduce the nation’s dependence on foreign oil.
Soy transportation and logistics: In early 2010, OSC completed a comprehensive study of the state’s transportation and logistics system, and learned that Ohio had a major opportunity to increase containerized exports of soybeans and other grains. But Ohio’s existing transportation weight-limit laws made the state uncompetitive.
OSA then joined the Ohio Farm Bureau Federation, Ohio AgriBusiness Association and former Ohio Corn Growers Association to successfully advocate for a new permit that allows increased weight limits for trucks carrying containers bound for export markets.
The Ohio and U.S. soybean industry as a whole also experienced great success in 2010.
Overall, 2010 was a near record-setting soybean harvest. Statewide, the USDA reports a 2010 soybean harvest of 4.5 million acres and an average yield of 48 bushels per acre, or more than 220 million bushels. Nationally, the soybean harvest was at 77.4 million acres and an average yield of 43.5 bushels per acre, or 3.329 billion bushels.
In addition, the USDA’s Foreign Agriculture Service reports that US. soy exports set a record for the fourth year in a row with exports of 1.9 billion bushels for the past marketing year. In the 2009/2010 marketing year, U.S. soybean farmers shipped out more than 1.45 billion bushels of whole soybeans, up from the 1.24 billion bushels exported last year. The USDA credits the early season sales and a projected increase in global import demand for the continued success of the U.S. soy exports.
OSA and OSC are proud of their efforts in 2010 and are looking forward to even more accomplishments in 2011 to ensure a successful future for Ohio’s soybean farmers.