The American Soybean Association's recent request to USDA for an Office of Inspector General audit of the national checkoff program has spurred some past United Soybean Board chairmen to speak out.
"In talking with my fellow past USB chairmen, we strongly defend the past and current work of the soybean checkoff and the integrity of the volunteer farmers who lead the organization,"said Eric Niemann, a soybean farmer from Nortonville, Kansas. "We completely disagree with the actions and criticisms of the American Soybean Association."
All past chairmen acknowledged a sometimes strained working relationship between USB and ASA, but recognized the many efforts put forth by USB to improve that relationship. The group strongly concurred that in no way has the integrity or work of the national soybean checkoff been compromised. Niemann pointed out that current U.S. farmer approval of the soybean checkoff stands at well over 70% as it has for several years running.
"As a past chairman of USB I understand the challenges the current directors are facing," Niemann said. "Their communications must all be approved by USDA. To be attacked so publicly puts them in a tough position to defend themselves."