SOURCE: United Soybean Board

United Soybean Board

July 14, 2011 15:34 ET

Safe, Abundant Food Courtesy of U.S. Farmers

With the Help of Research Investments by Farmer-Led Organizations Such as the United Soybean Board, U.S. Farmers Produce More Bushels per Acre Than Ever Before

ST. LOUIS, MO--(Marketwire - Jul 14, 2011) - According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), the average U.S. consumer spends just 10 percent of his or her income on food. By comparison, in the 1960s, Americans spent 15 percent of their income on food. In some developing countries today, consumers can spend up to 50 percent of their income on food.

Surveys conducted by the United Soybean Board (USB), a U.S. farmer-funded soy research and promotion program, have shown that more than 80 percent of U.S. soybean farmers feel an obligation to help feed the world. USB remains committed to this charge by supporting U.S. soybean farmers through research on better farming practices and new U.S. soybean varieties that could produce higher quality and greater amounts of U.S. soy. Through this research, U.S. farmers have been able to increase yields sustainably and will continue to do so to meet the challenge set by the United Nations (U.N.) to increase food production by 50 percent by 2030. This increase will be necessary as the world population grows and as people in developing countries can increasingly afford to improve their diets by adding meat.

Every day, 2.2 million U.S. farmers battle uncontrollable factors such as flooding, drought, pests, and plant and animal diseases to help provide food for today's world population of nearly 7 billion. Still, U.S. farmers receive less than 12 cents of each dollar spent on food in the United States. According to the USDA, the majority of food costs cover things such as the cost of petroleum for transportation, and costs associated with processing and packaging.

With the 3-billion-pound surplus of soy oil available for use in manufacturing biodiesel, U.S. farmers continue to help solve the growing concern about energy without putting strain on food security. In fact, a recent report from the U.N.'s Food and Agricultural Organization says that in certain instances, production of biofuels can increase food security and improve rural economies.

Agriculture supports the U.S. economy in many ways. For example, it's the one U.S. business sector that had the leading trade surplus in 2010: The United States exported $116 billion in farm goods. And USDA statistics show every $1 billion in U.S. agricultural exports supports 8,000 U.S. jobs.

Every day consumers rely on farmers to provide a bountiful and safe food supply. Farmers continue to do this, day in and day out, regardless of the challenges and risks they face.

About USB
USB is made up of 69 farmer-directors who oversee the investments of the soybean checkoff, a U.S. farmer-funded soy research and promotion program, 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.

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