They're growers with a mission. It's to find new ways to utilize soybeans to boost demand for the crop.

They, in this case, are the 10 members of the United Soybean Board's new-uses committee.

They spend hundreds of hours each year away from their farms, overseeing the research hunt for ways that eventually will move overall soybean profits higher.

"I'm going to do everything I can, with the committee's and USB's help, to create new uses that will get American soybean farmers the biggest bang for their buck," says Gene Lewis, a veteran board member and new committee chairman.

So how much work and time away from home does serving on the new-uses committee take?

"I'd guess the total time allotted to committee work is more than 30 days per year," says former committee Chair Yvonne Wente of Waverly, IA. "One year, we had over 80 research proposals to evaluate."

Despite the extra hours, Lewis and Wente agree that their volunteer committee work is interesting, educational and worthwhile.