The National Soybean Checkoff program first collects and then invests the collections to advance soybean marketing, production technology and the development of new uses. 

A mandatory assessment of one-half of one percent of the net market price of soybeans is collected at the first point of sale (typically when a farmer delivers soybeans to a grain elevator). Half of the amount collected remains within the state where it is collected and is invested by a Qualified State Soybean Board. The other half is forwarded to a national board that is invested by the United Soybean Board.

The amount of money collected fluctuates each year because the collection amount depends on the quantity of soybeans produced and the price at which the soybeans are sold. In recent years, the production and price of soybeans has increased dramatically, and so has the amount of money collected. To learn more, see Soybean Checkoff Collections.

The Soybean Promotion and Research Order is authorized by the Soybean Promotion, Research, and Consumer Information Act [7 U.S.C. 6301-6311]. The Act was passed as part of the 1990 Farm Bill. It authorized the establishment of a national soybean promotion, research and consumer information program. The program became effective on July 9, 1991, when the Order was published. Assessments began September 1, 1991. To learn more, see The Act and The Order.

It was the American Soybean Association and its State Soybean Affiliates that developed the concept for a national soybean checkoff in the late 1980ís and then worked with the United States Congress and the U.S. Department of Agriculture to establish the national soybean checkoff in 1990. As the policy organization that represents U.S. soybean farmers, ASA is responsible, along with Congress and USDA, to ensure that the soybean checkoff, and other entities the checkoff has created, are operating in an accountable and transparent manner and in the best interest of soybean farmers. 

Prior to 1990, there were a number of individual State Soybean Checkoff programs operating. Legislation for many of these programs still exists at the state level, but these programs are currently superseded by the National Soybean Checkoff.

A number of other agricultural commodities also have a national checkoff program. These include programs for Beef, Blueberries, Cotton, Dairy Products, Eggs, Fluid Milk, Hass Avocados, Honey Packers and Importers, Lamb, Mangos, Mushrooms, Peanuts, Popcorn, Pork, Potatoes, Sorghum and Watermelons. See National Research and Promotion Programs and About National Research and Promotion Programs for more information and links to web sites.

Over the years there have been a number of amendments made to the legislation for various checkoff programs, including the Soybean Checkoff. These amendments were made to keep the programs up-to-date serving the needs of the groups the programs are intended to benefit. See Amendments to the Soybean Checkoff Program and Examples of Amendments to Other Checkoff Program for more information.