"TUC will serve as a facilitator between the private sector, government and industry to create the pull-through needed to commercialize new soybean varieties with improved traits," said USB Chairman Richard Borgsmiller, a soybean farmer from Murphysboro, Ill. "Through the TUC, we hope to speed up the inclusion of specific traits in U.S. varieties, which will keep us competitive, not only with other countries, but other oilseeds as well. These quality improvements are necessary for continued success in the global market."

TUC, which is part of the checkoff-funded Better Bean Initiative (BBI), correlates with the program's goal of keeping U.S. soybean farmers competitive. Through the BBI, U.S. soybean farmers are funding research to improve the protein and oil composition of U.S. soybeans.

"USDA is concerned about the U.S. grower losing global market share in the future and is looking for opportunities to focus on this issue," said USB Vice Chairman David Durham, a soybean farmer from Hardin, Mo. "TUC should offer an industry platform to improve the intrinsic value of U.S. soybeans and strengthen our future competitiveness."

TUC will exist as a "virtual center," with no office, lab or staff. A board of 22 directors, ranging from farmer-leaders to researchers, soybean processors and end users will oversee TUC's work. The USB chief executive officer will manage the center's operations, and all TUC board members will be selected by USB.

USB is made up of 62 farmer-directors who oversee the investments of the soybean checkoff on behalf of all U.S. soybean farmers. As stipulated in the Soybean Promotion, Research and Consumer Information Act, USDA's Agricultural Marketing Service has oversight responsibilities for USB and the soybean checkoff.