AmericanFarm.com

Soy reps from seven states mull over consortium

By BRUCE HOTCHKISS
Senior Editor

ANNAPOLIS, Md. (May 12, 2015) — A consortium is an association of two or more “individuals, companies, organizations or governments (or any combination of these entities) with the objective of participating in a common activity or pooling their resources for achieving a common goal.”
Consortiums — or rather consortia — have been forming within the soybean industry across the United States, and one is in the planning stages now among the states of the Mid-Atlantic.
Fourteen soy industry representatives from seven states gathered recently in Annapolis for a briefing on consortia, how they work and what is involved in their creation.
Mark Leitman, director of soybean quality research for Smith Bucklin, a Washington, D.C.-based association management company which is a primary contractor to the United Soybean Board, addressed that farmers and staff from the region’s soybean boards about the potential to create a regional research consortium.
The states represented at the meeting were New York, Virginia, Delaware, Maryland, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and South Carolina. North Carolina was invited but was not represented at the meeting.
The South Carolina’s representatives indicated that her soybean board probably would not be interested in joining the consortium because South Carolina soy research concerns would not recessarily match those of the soybean boards of the Mid-Atlantic.
It was the group’s consensus, according to a report from the meeting, to create a consortium, and pursue funding from the United Soybean Board to support development of the consortium during the course of the next year.
A planning proposal and request of that nature is being drawn up by Susanne Zilberfarb, executive director of the Delaware Soybean Board, for presentation to the USB prior to May 18.
It is expected to be approved since it was the USB’s initial suggestion that a consortium be considered for the Mid-Atlantic and Smith Bucklin was hired to get the ball rolling.
Three other regions of the United States have consortia, including the 12-state North Central Soybean Research Program, the five-state Southern Soybean Research Program and the five-state Mid-South Soybean Board.
An informal poll was taken at the meeting to identify issues that may be addressed by the consortium, including water quality research, double crop systems, communications, centralized project management, and soy marketing.