By MATTHEW D. ERNST
ST. LOUIS, Mo. — Mark A. Seib, a veteran soybean producer and leader from southwestern Indiana, started his three-year term as a United Soybean Board (USB) director at its annual meeting Dec. 6-7.
“They asked me to consider coming back into soybean leadership,” said Seib. The Posey County farmer served as the first president of the Indiana Soybean Alliance (ISA) when the group formed in 2006, and he had state soybean leadership roles through 2010.
“I’d had a couple years off from the travel and other responsibilities of leadership and decided it was time to serve again.” He said he will continue his work on behalf of Indiana soybean growers as a national USB director.
“While I was involved in state soybean groups, I saw the opportunities that are there at the USB,” he said. “Half of the Indiana soybean checkoff goes to the USB, and the USB then funds projects that can come back to benefit Indiana farmers. Now I have the opportunity to represent Indiana in the national board.”
He was nominated for the post by the ISA, when the group submitted his name to USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack, earlier this year. Seib will join three northern Indiana farmers on the USB board: Michael Beard of Frankfort, Roger Hadley II of Woodburn and James Shriver of Montpelier.
Seib anticipates the USB to advocate newer markets for soybean meal, especially aquaculture, as well as continue the group’s push for biofuel. But he and other soy leaders are quick to emphasize the importance of livestock to the U.S. soy industry.
“The livestock industry is our biggest soybean user,” said Seib, “and we don’t want to price the soybean out of the feed industry.” Poultry and livestock farmers used soy meal from about 1.2 billion bushels of U.S. soybeans in 2011, according to a recent study funded by the USB.
Seib and his wife, Sheryl, raise 3,000 acres of corn and soybeans with his brother, Wayne, and father, Alfred, at their Poseyville-area operation. Half of their 1,500 soybean acres are double-cropped with wheat.
“We’re about as far south and west as you can go in Indiana, and are fortunate to be able to double-crop a lot of our soybeans,” he said.
Seib first grew soybeans as a Posey County 4-H member. He earned an associate degree in agriculture from Purdue University in 1977 and has since farmed with his family. In addition to his state-level soybean industry leadership, he has served as president of the Posey County Farm Bureau and has sat on county planning and zoning boards.
Sheryl now serves as president of Posey County Farm Bureau, the first woman elected to that position. The Seibs have two adult daughters and three grandchildren.