The year 2020 — as well as 2021 — will be remembered in history for the COVID-19 pandemic. For farmers, it was another year of resiliency, proving how essential it is for us to continue to produce food, fuel, fiber and shelter for our neighbors. I am proud to say that despite the many challenges that both COVID-19 and three major hurricanes threw our way, Louisiana’s soybean, corn, wheat and sorghum farmers continued to farm forward and provide the Louisiana Soybean and Grain Research and Promotion Board with farmer dollars to better our industry as a whole.
The Louisiana Soybean and Grain Research and Promotion Board serves as Louisiana’s wheat and corn checkoff and facilitates the national checkoffs for soybeans and grain sorghum in Louisiana. This important responsibility allows farmers to collectively administer funds for research specific to the needs of Louisiana while contributing to the larger national, and even worldwide, market promotion of these staple crops.
One hiccup caused by the pandemic was the transition of the Louisiana Soybean and Grain Research and Promotion Board appointments. Typically, our board would have cycled appointees concurrent with the election — or the reelection, in this case — of Louisiana’s governor. I want to personally thank our board members for sticking with us an extra year and serving the industry through their service to our checkoff board.
Outgoing members include: J.K. Bordelon, Thomas Ater, Glen Brown, Kim Frey, Dustin Morris, Carlos Polotzola and Dan Turner. If you know these men, please thank them for their dedication to volunteer their time to improve our farms, the research funded by the Louisiana Soybean and Grain Research and Promotion Board and, ultimately, the greater Louisiana agricultural community.
Not only is our board transitioning, but so is the farm economy. With the important work done internationally through the U.S. Grains Council, United Soybean Board, National Corn Growers and the United Sorghum Checkoff, our board here in Louisiana can be proud to say we have a small part in the increased demand that is being realized in our marketplace today. On the other side of the graph, we are also proud to see continued progress in Louisiana’s contribution to supply by furthering our state’s overall yield potential, which can be attributed in many cases to the research funded by your checkoff dollars. We continue to work to find better markets and higher yield potential through the promotion and research you are funding.
As this new board takes shape, we hope you will consider being a part of the process. The Louisiana Soybean and Grain Research and Promotion Board is always looking for participation from our contributing farmers. If you pay a dime to this checkoff board, we hope you will consider attending our meetings, getting involved in the nominating organizations — the Louisiana Farm Bureau Federation and the Louisiana Cotton and Grain Association — and adding to the diversity of ideas and representation of farmers on our board.
Through this annual report, we hope you find some area of your farm that is improved from scientific, credible, data-driven research. Also, the efforts are always being reviewed and refined. So, we strongly encourage letting your needs and ideas be heard at the next board meeting, which is scheduled for Nov. 18 and 19 in Baton Rouge at the LSU AgCenter. You can hear reports on funded projects and review new proposals, as well as provide feedback on the needs of your farm and how research and promotion could address them.
Chairman, Louisiana Soybean and Grain Research and Promotion Board
Soybean and Grain Research and Promotion Board members from left to right back row:
Glen Brown, Darrell Vandeven, Garrett Marsh, Damian Glaser, Dustin Morris. Front row from left to right: Dan Turner, Scott Wiggers, Charles Cannatella, Carlos Polotzola. Not pictured, J.K. Bordelon, Kim Frey, Thomas Ater. Photo by Olivia McClure