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North Dakota farmer strives to be part of ag's big picture

Hillsboro North Dakota, farmer Cindy Pulskamp’s latest hands-on involvement in an agricultural organization is her position on the United Soybean Board.

A smiling woman wearing a white shirt and black blazer.
The USDA named Cindy Pulskamp, Hillsboro, North Dakota, \to the United Soybean Board in March 2022.
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HILLSBORO, N.D. — The field of agriculture extends beyond the boundaries of Cindy Pulskamp’s farm.

Besides producing crops with her husband, Neal, Pulskamp advocates for agriculture through membership in organizations and serving on boards. She has been a member of North Dakota Agri-Women for nine years and serves as state secretary for the organization. And she represented the Hillsboro factory district on the American Crystal Sugar Co. board of directors from 2017 to 2019.

Pulskamp’s latest hands-on involvement in an agricultural organization is her position on the United Soybean Board. She was named to the board by 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 total of 78. The state’s three other board members are Matt Gast, Valley City; Datren Kadlec, Pisek; and Ryan Richards, Kindred.

Pulskamp believes that being of the United Soybean Board and other agricultural groups is part of the work that comes with being a farmer.

“You have to be a part of organizations to help promote what you do," Pulskamp said.

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The United Soybean Board, also known as the soybean checkoff, was passed in 1991 as a provision of the 1990 Farm Bill. The checkoff is supported by soybean farmers who individually contribute 0.5% of the market price sold each season.

Early in Pulskamp’s farming career, which began after she married her husband 20 years, she realized that she wanted her involvement in agriculture to extend beyond planting and harvesting grain and row crops

“I realized that there weren’t enough people out there talking about agriculture, promoting agriculture,” she said. “I wanted to share the agriculture story.”

Pulskamp believes farmers are the most qualified to give the public the narrative.

“We know, at the very basic level, the story. If I was not telling it, somebody else might, and they might not get the facts right,” Pulskamp said.

Her past experience serving on boards and her membership in organizations has broadened her understanding of agriculture, she said.

“There is much more than what we do on our farm that helps at the sugarbeet (industry) level or soybean level,” she said. “It has to be a larger scale beyond the end of the driveway.”

As a member of the United Soybean Board, Pulskamp will work on the Innovation and Technology Demand committee. The committee will meet at least once a month to talk about new product research.

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“We’re looking at innovating in soybean solutions to meet the future,” she said.” That will include finding new uses for soybean by-products including hulls and oil. New uses include use of soybean oil in Goodyear tires. The company introduced 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’re going through lists of things and you’re saying 'This touches me every single day,'" Pulskamp said.

Increasing the domestic use of soybeans will reduce the United States’ soybean market dependence on soybean exports, which fluctuate, taking soybean prices with them.

“I’m trying to carry on the research and promotion so farmers who raise soybeans continue to find value in raising them,” Pulskamp said.

Ann is a journalism veteran with nearly 40 years of reporting and editing experiences on a variety of topics including agriculture and business. Story ideas or questions can be sent to Ann by email at: abailey@agweek.com or phone at: 218-779-8093.
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