The American Soybean Association (ASA) is pleased that the Office of Inspector General (OIG) has completed its review and found that the soybean checkoff is operating as it should.
We are pleased we can put this issue behind our industry. When whistleblowers presented significant allegations of abuse, the ASA Board of Directors had a fiduciary responsibility to ask that the allegations be investigated in the best interests of soybean farmers. The Secretary of Agriculture agreed that an OIG investigation was warranted.
Substantial management and board changes have been made at the U.S. Soybean Export Council (USSEC) after ASA asked for an OIG investigation. The now former USSEC CEO was placed on administrative leave and the board of directors has been restructured. As a result of the significant leadership and management changes that have been made at USSEC, we believe soybean farmer interests are being better served.
Soybean farmers benefit from a strong policy organization in ASA and our state affiliates, working for them on legislative and regulatory issues, as well as from a soybean checkoff working at the national and state levels. ASA supports the continuation of the national soybean checkoff because we believe it provides needed resources to expand demand for U.S. soybeans and products.
ASA believes that by working together, we can create the best possible present and future for U.S. soybean farmers and the U.S. soybean industry. As soybean industry leaders, we need to continue to move forward on many issues important to soybean farmers ranging from trade expansion to biofuels to soybean research to domestic livestock demand.
Collaboration between the checkoff and ASA is ongoing in a number of areas important to the future of the U.S. soybean industry.
ASA is the only national, non-governmental, non-profit trade organization that represents soybean farmers in the United States. It was ASA and its state affiliates that developed the concept for national soybean checkoff in the late 1980s and then worked with Congress and U.S. Department of Agriculture to establish the national soybean checkoff in 1990.