Demonstrating why the checkoff system needs reforms sought by farmers, Congress, and Farm Action Fund, United Soybean Board (USB) has blocked a FOIA appeal for release of Farmers Independent Research of Seed Technology (FIRST) data. The information requested included location, yield, nutrition, and oil sample data which had been released by the United States Soybean Export Council and several state checkoff teams for five years at

FIRST is a private company that United Soybean Board pays to collect thousands of soybean samples every year. The data include yield, protein, and amino acid levels, collected from replicated plots. University and commercial scientists had used the data to identify which varieties deliver the most value to farmers, livestock, and oil customers. Farmers help pay for the soybean samples to be analyzed for their nutrition and oil value.

Illinois Soybean Association, then several state checkoff groups, then United Soybean Board worked with innovative seed companies to release reports that identified which varieties deliver the most feed and value. The seed variety information can help farmers increase soybean value in livestock feed, naturally increase corn demand, and rapidly improve farm and food company sustainability metrics.


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