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National Checkoff Organizations Announce a New Era of Collaboration

The National Pork Board, United Soybean Board, and National Corn Growers Association have signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) on a sustainability research platform that will benefit all three organizations and their producers. This research program includes the sharing of completed research, coordination on current and planned research, and it defines ways to share and communicate results with each organization’s members.

Leadership from the three commodity groups agree that it is prudent to consider specific ways in which they might work together more effectively to ensure alignment and collaboration in sustainability research and how the results can and will be communicated and shared.

National Pork Board CEO Bill Even says the research will be directly related to the environmental sustainability indicators of carbon, water use and quality, and soil health.

“This is also about communication, and the need for us to increase the education, the capacity, and the motivation of farmers to adopt conservation measures that will deliver real benefits both on the livestock farms and the farmland that we all treasure dearly,” says Even. “But most importantly, the ability to show those measures and metrics to consumers who really care about what we do on our land while we feed them.”

 “Most farmers are invested in multiple commodities and invested in more than one of our organizations, so it’s important that we are collaborating wherever we can,” says Lewis Bainbridge, USB chair and soybean and livestock farmer from South Dakota. “We need to be supportive of one another, especially now when there’s more interest in what we’re doing to produce our commodities. We need to be looking at the big picture of how our commodities work together and take that a step further.”

 “NCGA’s targeted focus – whether it’s policy, market development, or research – is to grind more corn and do it profitably. However, in areas like sustainability and research where we share goals and values in our industry, it is just plain smart to work in collaboration,” says Lynn Chrisp, NCGA president, of Hastings, Nebraska. “This memorandum will encourage increased communications, further sharing of staff and funding resources, pool expertise, and ultimately makes us all more effective.”

Over the next few months, a task force of farmer representatives from NPB, USB, and NCGA will be formed and, with support from each organization, will be responsible for managing and evaluating the activities outlined in the MOU. Additionally, the task force will track progress and evaluate the value and impact of the MOU upon completion of all activities.

What about involving other production ag checkoff organizations?

“We hope over time that fellow colleagues in the industry will take a look at this, and we’ll be more than happy to welcome them on board,” says Even. “You’ve got to start somewhere.”
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