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United Soybean Board Awards International Marketing Analysis and Transition Contract

United Soybean Board Awards International Marketing Analysis and Transition Contract

Posted: Monday, August 24, 2009 8:01 pm

ST. LOUIS (August 19, 2009) – The United Soybean Board (USB), the national organization that invests soybean checkoff dollars to create demand for U.S. soybeans, announced today that it will partner with Oranni Consulting and Transition Management Consulting (TMC) to complete an external market analysis identifying effective models for international marketing programs. The two organizations will also be responsible for working with farmer-leaders to transition from the current model to the board’s newly selected international model.

“In June, the board voted to take the initial step in finding an independent, third-party contractor to conduct an external analysis of present checkoff, government and private-sector efforts and to determine the best approach for the soybean industry’s international marketing program,” said USB Chairman Chuck Myers, a soybean farmer from Lyons, Neb. “It’s extremely important that USB seek the best model or models because more than half of U.S. soybeans are exported. We have been using the same model for international marketing for the last 50 years. We need to adjust and adapt to the global marketplace and our customers’ needs.”

In 2009, USB budgeted more than $13.5 million, or nearly a quarter of its entire program funding, toward international marketing. USB currently invests those dollars through the St. Louis-based, U.S. Soybean Export Council (USSEC). Additional checkoff resources are invested in international marketing by Qualified State Soybean Boards as well as the U.S. Department of Agriculture, through its Foreign Agricultural Service, often matches the U.S. soybean farmer checkoff financial commitment.

USB formed a taskforce of its members to seek out organizations that would qualify to do the analysis of the program. The taskforce evaluated organizations on their ability to reach out to stakeholders, conduct a thorough domestic and international market analysis, develop model recommendations, approach a transition, work with USB board members and remain compliant with the Soybean Promotion, Research and Consumer Information Act (Checkoff Act).

“We received proposals from several well qualified organizations,” said Myers. “This is arguably one of the most important decisions we will make. We looked for organizations who could reach out not only to the current industry partners, but also to those who have a stake and haven’t been included in the past. We want this process to be as thorough and transparent as possible.”

After extensively reviewing the proposals, the taskforce chose four finalists to be interviewed. The interviews were held August 13th and after careful consideration Oranni Consulting was selected. Myers said this group possesses extensive background developing international marketing models and brought an innovative approach based on an international, multidisciplinary team.

“We must ensure that every soybean checkoff dollar and taxpayer dollar invested in marketing U.S. soybeans is focused on the future. We need to ensure that opportunities exist for U.S. soybean farmers to meet the ever-increasing demand for protein worldwide. This analysis and resulting transition plan will transform U.S. soybean farmer’s presence in the international marketplace,” said Myers.

USB is made up of 68 farmer-directors who oversee the investments of the soybean checkoff on behalf of all U.S. soybean farmers. Checkoff funds are invested in the areas of animal utilization, human utilization, industrial utilization, industry relations, market access and supply. As stipulated in the Soybean Promotion, Research and Consumer Information Act, USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service has oversight responsibilities for USB and the soybean checkoff.
Posted 8.24.09

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