South Dakota soybean farmers can be candidates for board seats to help direct the spending of the South Dakota Soybean Checkoff. The farmer-led South Dakota Soybean Research & Promotion Council (SDSRPC) has three board seats up for election this year. One director will be elected from each of three districts: District Three, consisting of the southeastern South Dakota counties of Lincoln, McCook, Minnehaha, and Turner; District Four, the east-central counties of Brookings, Lake, Miner, Moody, and Sanborn; and District Seven, which is Brown, Campbell, Corson, Edmunds, Harding, McPherson, and Perkins Counties, in north-central South Dakota.
Eligible candidates need to collect valid signatures from 15 qualified growers in their respective districts, according to Tim Ostrem, chairman of the South Dakota Soybean Checkoff.
“I had the opportunity to join the Checkoff Board eight years ago,” said Ostrem, “and have enjoyed the opportunity to try to do the best I can with those checkoff dollars that the farmers are giving to us to invest in soybean production [research] and promotion.”
Ostrem, who farms between Centerville and Wakonda, says the nine SDSRPC board members have a voice in determining checkoff spending.
“It creates an opportunity for you to use your experience as a farmer and your experience raising soybeans to promote that crop, to get the most value out of that crop that we can get, to raise our soybeans in the most sustainable way we can,” he said, “and [get] the most renewable products that we can get out there in the marketplace.”
Added soybean meal and oil demand, thanks to checkoff-funded research, has resulted in a new processing plant in the works near Mitchell, said Ostrem, which is in addition to existing processing plants already in South Dakota. “There are just all kinds of opportunities as a board member to give direction to those dollars,” said Ostrem, “to promote and do the research that we want with our soybeans.”
Completed petitions for the state checkoff board are due at the South Dakota Soybean office by 4:30 p.m., Thursday, April 14.
In addition to the three South Dakota Soybean Checkoff Board seats, there are also two seats to be filled this year on the national soybean checkoff body, the United Soybean Board. Brookings County farmer David Iverson says he’s grateful for the nine years he just completed on that board.
“I think there’s an incredible value back to the actual person that’s serving [who] has a great opportunity to represent South Dakota on the national United Soybean Board,” said Iverson, who farms at Toronto in northern Brookings County, South Dakota. To be considered for the national leadership position, interested farmers need to submit a USDA Background Information Form to the South Dakota Soybean office before the April 20, deadline. That form is available from the South Dakota Soybean office.
“It’s a great learning opportunity that I had when I was representing South Dakota to learn how our checkoff is doing on the national level and what they are doing, to have a voice in how we want to invest South Dakota Soybean Checkoff dollars,” said Iverson. “It’s a great opportunity.”
Full release and application details are available here.