HILLSBORO, ND — The realm of agriculture extends beyond the confines of Cindy Pulskamp’s farm.
In addition to growing crops with her husband, Neal, Pulskamp champions agriculture by joining organizations and serving on boards. She has been a member of North Dakota Agri-Women for nine years and serves as Secretary of State for the organization. And she represented the Hillsboro Industrial District on the American Crystal Sugar Co. Board of Directors from 2017 to 2019.
Pulskamp’s last practical involvement in an agricultural organization was his position with the United Soybean Board. She was appointed to the Board of Directors by the USDA on March 22, 2022 and will serve a three-year term. Pulskamp joins three North Dakota board members who are among the group’s 78 members. The other three state board members are Matt Gast, Valley City; Datren Kadlec, Pisek; and Ryan Richards, Kindred.
Pulskamp thinks being part of the United Soybean Board and other farm groups is part of the job that comes with being a farmer.
“You have to be part of organizations to help promote what you do,” Pulskamp said.
The United Soybean Board, also known as the Soybean Checkoff, was enacted in 1991 as a provision of the 1990 Farm Bill. The checkoff is supported by soybean growers who individually contribute 0.5% of the price of the market sold each season.
Early in Pulskamp’s farming career, which began after she married her husband of 20 years, she realized she wanted her involvement in farming to extend beyond planting and harvesting cereals and row crops.
“I realized there weren’t enough people talking about agriculture, promoting agriculture,” she said. “I wanted to share the story of agriculture.”
Pulskamp thinks farmers are best qualified to tell the story to the public.
“We know, at a very basic level, the story. If I didn’t say it, someone else might, and they might not understand the facts correctly,” Pulskamp said.
Her past experience on boards and membership in organizations broadened her understanding of agriculture, she said.
“There’s a lot more than what we do on our farm that helps with sugar beets (industry) or soybeans,” she said. “It needs to be on a larger scale beyond the end of the driveway.”
As a board member of United Soybean, Pulskamp will work on the Innovation and Technology Demand Committee. The committee will meet at least once a month to discuss new product research.
“We are looking to innovate in soy solutions to face the future,” she said. This will include finding new uses for soybean by-products, including hulls and oil. New uses include the use of soybean oil in Goodyear tires. The company launched the Goodyear Assurance ComfortDrive in February 2020, according to the Soy Biobased.org website.
Tires are just one of the products that contain soybean oil. Others include paints, crayons, and pet shampoo.
“You go through lists of things and say, ‘This touches me every day,'” Pulskamp said.
Increasing domestic use of soybeans will reduce the US soybean market’s dependence on soybean exports, which fluctuate, bringing with them soybean prices.
“I try to continue research and promotion so that farmers who grow soybeans continue to find value in growing them,” Pulskamp said.