Soybean growers are popular (Editorial)

Soybean acreage across the United States continues to spiral upward and no wonder.
Improved varieties and solid prices often offer attractive reasons to take some of that ground out of corn or not to renew the conservation lease.
Look at the charts.
Farmers put soybeans into more acres for the 2014 season than ever before in history and have even added another director to the United Soybean Board. The newest member is a farmer from Mississippi. Board membership now totals 70.
In 1976, U.S. farmers planted 50 million acres of beans. All told, in 2014, the farmers have planted a total of 84.3 million acres, the most in history.
With a couple of exceptions, planted acreage has increased steadily over the past 48 years.
Acreage has spiraled upward since 2007 when it dipped to 65 million. Acreage is important. It contributes to the membership numbers on the United Soybean Board.
Seats on the USB are allocated based on average soybean production in the individual states. Acreage obviously impacts yield.
A maximum of four directors per state is allowed on the USB.
Assigned four directors are six states: Illinois, Indiana, Minnesota, Nebraska and Ohio.
Five other states have three directors: Arkansas, Kansas, Michigan, Missouri and South Dakota.
Maryland and Pennsylvania have two directors, Delaware one.
Directors are nominated by their state soybean boards and appointed by the U.S. secretary of agriculture. The terms of each appointment are for three years and directors are allowed to serve a maximum of three consecutive terms.
Here’s how directors are assigned.
Each state that records an annual average in soybean production of less than 15 million bushels, but not less than 3 million, shall be entitled to one director on the board.
Each state which has an annual average soybean production of 15 million or more bushels but less than 70 million bushels shall be entitled to two USB directors.
Each state which has an annual average soybean production of 70 million or more bushels but less than 200 million bushels shall be entitled to three directors.
Each state which has an annual average soybean production of 200 million bushels or more shall be entitled to four directors.
Average annual soybean production is determined by using the average of the production for the state over the five previous years, excluding the year in which production was the highest and the year in which it was the lowest.
States which do not have annual average soybean production equal to or greater than three million bushels shall be grouped, to the extent practicable, into geographically contiguous units each of which, to the extent practicable, have a combined annual soybean production level which is equal to or greater than 3 million bushels and each such unit shall be entitled to at least one representative on the board.
New Jersey occupies somewhat of a unique position in this arrangement.
It continues to have its own state soybean board but, according to a spokesperson for the USB, “we do include New Jersey in Eastern Region activities.”
The Eastern Region Soybean Board is comprised of Florida, West Virginia, New Hampshire, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Maine, Vermont, and Rhode Island.
Of those, Florida and West Virginia have the majority of the soybean production in the region.
The USB director for the Eastern Region is Bill Bibus, who just took over for Rick Stern.
Both are from New Jersey. Bibus hails from Chesterfield.
So, although the Mid-Atlantic isn’t breaking any national records, it earns its voice in the activities and actions of the United Soybean Board.
And that’s where the checkoff action is.