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Agrimarketing : May 2012
60 Agri Marketing May 2011 process that helped farmers understand the positive implications for their businesses." That consistent message came from all corners: seed, crop protection, plant nutrient, equipment companies, as well as soil conservation districts, universities and extensions. "Everyone was telling the same story, so the farmer could see that we were working together for their benefit." Becherer credits a number of people for making the program a success. "Jim Moseley, who at the time was an Assistant Secretary of Agriculture, really drove the process, along with Bill Richards who led what is now the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Natural Resources Conservation Service" he says. "And at the fulcrum of all that on the industry side was a guy named Steve Barr (founder of Osborn Barr communications agency)." Becherer 's work at CTIC served as a model for a farmer-led organization with government oversight and industry involvement. It's a model that would serve him well in the years to come. "When we set the final end date of September 30, 1994, for this program, people asked me if I knew what I had done," says Becherer. "Of course, I did. I'd be looking for another job." GROWING WITH USB As the end date for Becherer 's CTIC project approached, he began to send out feelers. He talked with a lot of peo- ple who kept saying that a position at USB would be the right fit for him. "During my interview with the Board, I found out they needed three things: strategic planning, consensus-building, and knowledge and interaction with industry," he says. "I felt I could be of help." Becherer joined USB on October 1, 1994, the day after he wrapped up his work with CTIC. "Early on, USB had a $20 million budget, a strategic plan that was several pages thick, a focus on marketing and research, and very little coordination between the national and state entities," states Becherer. "But the biggest missing piece when I got here was that there was no interaction with industry." Since then, he believes that their approach to industry has been methodical and effective. Their work with John Deere is one example. "We've always had a great relationship with Deere," states Becherer. "We sat down and discussed how we could work together to put products using soybeans into the marketplace, creating a cycle of products that would go back to farmers." Deere was able to work with USB's applied research to find new uses for U.S. soy, then connected with the Ford Motor Company to develop composites such as soy-foam seat materials. The overall result was Deere bringing soy- SEARCHING FOR OPPORTUNITIES/continued from page 58 USB CEO John Becherer honors Phil Bradshaw, Illinois farmer and former USB Chair, at last year's dinner recognizing farmers retiring from USB. Sixty-nine U.S. soybean farmers currently serve on USB. USB'S LONG-RANGE STRATEGIC PLAN 2011-2016 After 20 years of steady successes, the checkoff is now facing a worldwide demand that requires a 50% increase in protein by 2030.* We must continue striving for even greater yields to meet this growing demand while differentiating our U.S. soy products and services in the global marketplace. Core Value: The Board, with honesty and integrity, collectively and individually, is committed to working within the letter and spirit of applicable law and regulation to achieve maximum value for each soybean farmer 's checkoff dollar. Mission: Effectively invest and leverage soybean checkoff resources to maximize profit opportunities for U.S. soybean farmers. Vision: U.S. soybeans will be the leader of the global oilseed industry. Strategy: Create and maintain partnerships that differentiate and increase the utilization of U.S. soy in a changing global market. Strategic Objectives • Meal: Increase the value of U.S. soybean meal to the entire value chain. • Oil: Increase the value of U.S. soy oil to the entire value chain. • Freedom to Operate: Ensure that our industry and its customers have the freedom and infrastructure to operate. • Customer Focus: Meet our customers' needs with quality soy products and services to enhance and expand our markets. Priority Issues • Protect and support the U.S. animal agricultural industry. • Investment in transportation infrastructure. AM *United Nations Food & Agriculture Organization (more on page 62)