The success of Mississippi soybean farmers and the state’s local grain elevators ultimately relies on the end-users of soybeans. That’s why the Mississippi Soybean Promotion Board (MSPB) has teamed up with a group of grain elevators to inform Mississippi soybean farmers about their number one customer: animal agriculture.

“One of the goals of the board and the soybean checkoff is to get farmers to think about their number one customer - beyond the elevator,” said Jimmy Sneed, MSPB chairman and United Soybean Board (USB) farmer-leader. “Partnering with local elevators to spread our message was a logical and efficient choice since checkoff research has shown that most farmers think of their elevator as their top, and in some cases, only customer.”

The groups are working together to spread the message that animal agriculture plays a crucial role in soybean demand and the price farmers receive for their soybeans. They reinforce this message by providing farmers with facts and figures about Mississippi and international animal agriculture.

“We understand the price farmers get from selling their seed to us is their top priority, but they need to understand that the livestock value of their product plays a very important part in how the final price they receive for their soybeans is determined,” said Perry Lucas, director of Tom Soya Grain, Co. “The messaging MSPB put together does a great job in communicating this important animal ag message to farmers.”

According to checkoff-funded research, animal agriculture in Mississippi represents $6.4 billion in revenues, $1 billion in household income, and 42,307 jobs. In addition to the effect on income and jobs, animal agriculture provides a significant source of tax revenues. The growth of animal agriculture in Mississippi over the past 10 years has led to an annual increase of $831 million in economic output, $128 million in household wages, more than 5,000 jobs and $32 million in income tax revenue.

“Even though approximately 87 percent of Mississippi’s soybean crop will be exported this year, it is important to support our local poultry and livestock farmers,” Sneed said. While our soybeans help feed animals overseas, the soybeans grown by fellow soybean producing states support Mississippi animal ag.”

In addition, MSPB created “Beyond the Elevator Sweepstakes” to further support the effort. Farmers who receive information from their elevator or visit the sweepstakes Web-site, http://sweepstakes.mssoy.org, can enter to win a $500 prepaid gift card. The deadline to enter is January 20, 2012.