Mary Archer Stewart, of Pylesville, MD, was sworn in last week as Maryland’s newest representative to the United Soybean Board (USB). Stewart was appointed by the Maryland Soybean Board to fill the seat of Belinda Burrier, of Union Bridge, MD, who termed off the Board after nine years of service. The transition occurred during the USB’s recent meeting held December 5-7, 2023, in St. Charles, Missouri.
“My predecessor, Belinda Burrier, worked hard promoting and moving markets forward for farmers across the country,” says Stewart. “I’m ready and honored to roll up my sleeves and continue to do the same.”
Stewart and her husband, Greg, grow soybeans, corn, wheat, sorghum, and hay, and assist with her family’s dairy farm in Harford County. Stewart runs an outreach program on the farm, where they host events, community festivals, and educational farm tours. Stewart is a LEAD Maryland Class VI Alumni and currently serves as well on the Speaker Bureau for the North East Dairy Association, is a Director for the Maryland Dairy Princess Board, and is a MidAtlantic CommonGround Volunteer.
Stewart joins Travis Hutchison, of Cordova, MD, in representing Maryland on USB, overseeing soy checkoff investments to create profit opportunities for U.S. soybean farmers. Since its inception in 1991, the soy checkoff has provided significant return on investment by leveraging partnerships that increase the value and preference for U.S. soybeans. A recent independent economic evaluation of the soy checkoff found that U.S. soybean farmers received an estimated $12.34 in added value for every dollar they invested in the checkoff.
“We have a great and sustainable product to promote in soybeans. ‘Produced in the USA’ is a beautiful thing and we have to keep sharing our stories to keep farming viable for our producers everywhere and of all size and scale,” Stewart remarks.
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.