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ISA, ICMC strategic plan will focus on sustainability, value creation, and more

The Indiana Soybean Alliance and Indiana Corn Marketing Council released a new strategic plan that will guide the groups for the next three years.

CEO Courtney Kingery says six farmer leaders and five staff members gathered input through workshops, interviews, and focus groups and worked for nearly a year to develop the strategic plan.

“This work was farmer led and farmer directed,” she says.

The four strategic focus areas for ISA and ICMC are: market development, sustainability, value creation, and producer engagement.

ISA Director Mark Legan says Hoosier farmers are good at growing corn and soybeans and can accumulate large carryovers of those stocks. He says that’s why the goal of the market development focus area is to move the pile.  

“From the soybean standpoint, the first objective is to increase meat and poultry exports into targeted countries,” he says. “Livestock, particularly pork and poultry, are the number one market for soybeans in the form of soybean meal. We hope to accomplish this by working with the US Meat Export Federation and the USA Poultry and Egg Export Council.”

The Putnam County farmer says the organizations hope to improve market development for corn by supporting and improving ethanol infrastructure and increasing exports to Mexico, Colombia, and South Korea.  

ICMC President Josh Miller says they developed a three-tier system for the sustainability focus area.

“Those three tiers are the environmental, social, and the economic legs of the stool of sustainability. On the environmental side, we’re trying to increase cover crop usage, increase no-till operations and promote soil sampling and nutrient management plans,” he says. “The second leg of that stool is the social aspect. We have a lot of farmers doing a great job implementing these practices and we want to help share that with the non-ag community. The last step is the economic factor. Farmers don’t want to be wasteful— they want to avoid run-off and they want to see a return on their investment.”

ICMC Treasurer Sarah Delbecq, a DeKalb County farmer, says another strategic focus area is finding new markets and uses for corn and soybeans through value creation.

“At the end of the day I think this strategic plan is expanding on work we’re already doing and keeping our eyes open for new projects,” she says. “We want to keep multiple projects in the pipeline for both corn and soybeans, ensure those projects will have viable uses, and then we want to do what we can to make sure they can be commercialized….we hope it drives demand and brings value back to farmers.”

ISA Board Member Kevin Cox discussed the final focus area and the importance of engaging more deeply with Indiana’s 20,000 corn and soybean farmers.

“The message that came out of (strategic plan work sessions) loud and clear is that we have a story to tell and we want to be the resource to help tell that and help share that with other producers,” he says.

Kingery says the strategic plan will lead the way by which the farmer leaders will direct, manage, and engage the success of the organizations.

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