What better time to reflect on the importance of the Wisconsin soybean crop than when the fall harvest is in full swing? The versatile soybean contributes to our state economy in its use for animal feed and aquaculture fish food. Soybeans also produce a wide selection of soyfoods such as tofu and soymilk, prized for their flavor and healthful nutrition profile. In fact, soybeans are the second most popular crop in the U.S., grown by farmers in more than 30 states, including Wisconsin.
Wisconsin residents are aware that the summer of 2012 brought with it one of the worst droughts in decades. Soybean farmer Dan Roe of Monticello discusses this year’s soybean harvest in light of the drought.
“It’s kind of a Tale of Two Cities—our good darker ground indeed has seen some of the best beans we’ve raised in years, surprisingly enough. But medium to high ground has been disappointing,” he said.
According to some estimates, he says, the expectation is 40 bushels of soybeans per acre.
“In my experience, that’s probably going to be pretty close. A month ago, we were all hoping for 35. I think we’re definitely going to be above what we were expecting. Overall, the harvest is a little bit better than we expected, but we are still going to be ten bushels under our average,” he said.
As consumers seek more information about where their food comes from, they are developing a new interest in locally and regionally grown products. There is also a renewed appreciation for the growers and producers.
As Roe notes, “Some of our city cousins are at a disconnect from the farmers now. Not too many years ago, everybody had an uncle or a grandpa or somebody who lived on a farm, and everybody still had somewhat of a connection. Now, another generation has passed and we are starting to lose those connections. We’re trying to do more to familiarize people with production agriculture.”
According to the most recent Wisconsin Agricultural Statistics, agriculture generates more than $59 billion to Wisconsin’s economy and provides 1 in 10 jobs in the state. Wisconsin soybean farmers help build this strong economic foundation.
To learn more about Wisconsin Soybean Marketing Board and the people who grow them, visit the Wisconsin Soybean website.