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Health and Nutrition Priority Area Works Hard to Better U.S. Soy Industry

Growing the best possible crop that meets a variety of end-use needs is a top priority for U.S. soybean farmers. Many of those end users rely on the diversity of the soybean to meet health and nutritional needs, which is why USB formed the Health & Nutrition Priority Area. USB farmer-leader Gary Berg from St. Elmo, Illinois, serves as the coordinator of this priority area that works to identify investments and opportunities to create and add value to U.S. soybean meal.

The U.S. soybean industry has strong ties to animal agriculture, its largest customer, and U.S. Soy works to ensure the world’s producers of poultry, pork, aquaculture and livestock have access to nutrient-rich U.S. Soy. 

“This past year, we have worked closely with the Animal Nutrition Working Group (ANWG). They provide information and influential recommendations that increase the animal agriculture industry’s awareness and understanding of U.S. soybean meal’s benefits in poultry and pork rations,” said Berg. 

The ANWG was formed to open constructive dialogue between animal nutritionists and farmers about soybean meal. Through this group, farmers and animal nutritionists have been able to collaborate and improve the quality of U.S. soybean meal to meet the needs of domestic animal agriculture. To read more about ANWG, please visit this website.

“Ninety-seven percent of the U.S. soybean meal produced annually is used as a value-added nutrition in animal feed. Most people are unaware that the poultry and pork industries consume the largest portion of soybean meal in the U.S.,” said Berg. “One of our investment projects this year includes working with these producers to show the many benefits to their animals if they increase the amount of soybean meal in their animals’ diets. We have made that case through research, where we can show producers the data and not just take our word that soybean meal is good for their animals.” 

Soybean plant health is also an important area falling under this priority area, and farmer-leaders invest in research to improve soybean plant health by offering the latest data-based pest and disease recommendations to farmers. 

“The Health & Nutrition Priority Area is coordinating with leading agronomists and extension researchers to deliver these recommendations in real-time because production environments can change quickly,” said Berg. 

Data has become an invaluable asset to farmers. Whether it is data generated by equipment on their farms to data generated through research, today’s farmers are making management decisions leading to resilient and value-added crops more than ever before. 

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