Belinda Burrier of Union Bridge has made history in the local soybean industry since beginning her term on the Maryland Soybean Board (MSB) in 2011. Burrier was the first woman to serve on the board; was one of the first two individuals from the East Coast to serve on the Executive Committee of the United Soybean Board; and most recently, was elected as the first woman Chair for the Maryland Soybean Board.
Burrier married into the farming lifestyle. When she and her husband Dave, purchased his families farm back in 2002, she was all in. “Even though I didn’t have a farming background, I did grow up with my dad being a land surveyor, and I’ve always liked the outdoors – and I’m willing try anything,” she explains.
Belinda began attending MSB meetings during Dave’s term on the board. After his term ended, she was a natural fit to fill the vacancy, as she was already knowledgeable about the work that the board was doing. She attributes herself as bringing diversity to the board, not only by being the first female, but also coming from a non-farm background. “I was honored to be appointed to the boards, and felt that I could contribute a different perspective,” comments Burrier.
Burrier officially assumed this duty with the start of MSB’s new fiscal year on October 1. She succeeds Brian Johnson of Westover as Chair. Johnson remains on the board, serving in the role of Vice Chairman.
Additionally, MSB welcomed two new farmer directors to the board in their new fiscal year. Eddie Boyle of Cordova was elected to represent the Upper Shore, and Steve Walter of Hughesville was elected to represent Southern Maryland.
Ten farmer-directors volunteer their time on the Maryland Soybean Board, which administers soybean checkoff funds for soybean research, marketing and education programs in the state. Also currently serving are Joshua Appenzeller of Millington, Dale Brown of Denton, Randy Stabler of Brookeville, Jason Spicer of Church Creek, and Evan Staley of Union Bridge. Curt Lambertson of Stockton serves as Treasurer. April Cheesman of Perdue Farms, Inc., Jim Lewis of the University of Maryland Extension Service, and Mark Powell of the Maryland Department of Agriculture serve as ex-officio members.
In Maryland, farmers grow about a half a million acres of soybeans, producing more than 20 million bushels of beans each year. With a value of $173 million to the state’s economy, soybeans are one of Maryland’s top crops.
The checkoff program is funded by farmers through an assessment of one-half of one percent of the net market value of their soybeans at the first point of sale. One-half of the checkoff funds stay in Maryland for programs; the other half is sent to the United Soybean Board.
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Danielle Bauer, Executive Director
Maryland Soybean Board