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Agrimarketing : May 2012
Chicago-based association management company with an office in St. Louis to manage USB domestic programs, and the U.S. Soybean Export Council (USSEC), based in St. Louis, to promote international sales of U.S. soy. "In addition, due to our structure, we can go out and find the very best people and best organizations for particular projects such as research, market development, or farmer education," states Becherer. Communications and coordination are essential for Becherer and his USB team. This coming December, 300 leading soybean farmers and more than 100 industry representatives will be coming into St. Louis for the USB-sponsored soy industry CONNECTIONS meeting, a program that's held every other year. "This is where we'll develop U.S. soy industry priorities for the coming years," says Becherer. BECHERER AND USFRA In 2010, Becherer engaged private industry to more effectively build consumer confidence about today's agriculture and our food supply by helping to create the U.S. Farmers & Ranchers Alliance (USFRA). The Alliance has grown to include nearly 80 major U.S. farm and commodity organizations from just 12 when it began. "Consumers have become much more interested in where their food is coming from," says Becherer. "And, in some cases, they're becoming more vocal about it." "We survey producers twice a year," he continues. "These surveys indicate that 84% of soybean farmers believe their freedom to operate is increasingly threatened. We need to make sure that we're talking with one voice so that we can maintain our social license to farm." In its first two years of operation, USFRA has already reached a $12 million funding level through checkoff and industry support. A LOOK AHEAD Becherer is confident about the future of agriculture. "We are living in the most dynamic time for the history of ag," he says. "The opportunities are awesome for the next 30 years and more. It's both exhilarating and challenging." Maybe that's why he's pleased to see that both his children are in ag business. His daughter, Leah, works for GROWMARK, and son, Alex, is heading back to school to get a degree in ag economics. As for all the success he's seen, he credits the people around him, especially his wife, Sue. "We've known each other for 40 years," says Becherer. "She's my rock. The person I depend on." Becherer also believes in the words of Gandhi, "There are those that do, and those that take credit. I always wanted to be the former. There are fewer of them." AM 64 Agri Marketing May 2012 SEARCHING FOR OPPORTUNITIES/continued from page 62 USB CEO John Becherer (center right) greets former U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Ann Veneman when she visited the studios of the St. Louis-based "AgriiTalk" syndicated radio program in 2004. At left is Rick Tolman, CEO of the National Corn Growers Association. "AgriTalk" host Mike Adams looks on at right. Get Your News on the Go! Now you can get news and weather for agri-marketers while you are on the go on your favorite wireless mobile device. Away from your computer? Traveling? In an airport? In the middle of a corn field or feedlot? Get a quick update on breaking agri-marketing news and weather. Just open your Web browser and enter www.AgriMarketingMobile.com. Visit the AgriMarketing Mobile FAQs page for questions about mobile application functionality. This service is free to agri-marketers. Powered by iNet Solutions Group www.inetsgi.com AgriMarketing magazine 1422 Elbridge Payne Road, #250 Chesterfield, MO 63017 636/728-1428 info@AgriMarketing.com