Soybean Research Center at ISU approved by regents

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The Iowa Board of Regents approved the formation of the Iowa Soybean Research Center at Iowa State University (ISU) in Ames.

The center, a partnership between the Iowa Soybean Association (ISA) and ISU, will take soybean research and disseminating information to a new level. It will facilitate collaboration between public and private entities aimed at meeting the needs of Iowa soybean farmers.

Ultimately, the center will enable producers to profitably provide the highest yielding, highest quality soybeans and soybean products to a growing global market in a sustainable way.

"It will bring the industry together," said Brian Kemp, ISA president who farms near Sibley. "The Iowa Soybean Association, Iowa State University and private industry will work together with a singular focus - improving competitiveness of soybeans."

The center will provide a more disciplined approach when it comes to funding and identifying priority-driven research, ISA officials say. Goals include:

• Forge strong public-private partnerships

• Sustain extension and outreach communication and collaboration with growers and industry

• Increase training of students and other personnel for soybean-related research, education and production

• Increase public and private funding of soybean-related research and education

"It's providing an organization for innovation," said Greg Tylka, who will serve as center director. Tylka is professor of plant pathology with Extension and research responsibilities in management of plant-parasitic nematodes. "One major new thing that will come from the center is to create new, stronger partnerships with industry."

ISA officials approached ISU more than a year ago about forming a center, with the goal of increasing soybean acres and profitability. As international demand for soybeans escalates, focus on soybean research will only increase.

Since Iowa traditionally leads the nation in soybean production (411 million bushels last year, according to government records), Tylka said ISU is the perfect place for the center given the university's reputation as a leader in soybean research. "We want to help Iowa farmers increase yields and preserve them," he said.

Ed Anderson, Ph.D., ISA senior director of Supply & Production Systems, said the center will provide more relevant, deeper and timely communications between the public and private sectors pertaining to soybean management and emerging disease and pest issues. Anderson believes it will soon be recognized for excellence in soybean research, teaching and outreach. That will attract even more funding, he said.

"I envision it being a model, if not the premier soybean research center, in the country," Anderson said.

The center will be housed in Agronomy Hall on the ISU campus, the hub of soybean research programs and supporting faculty and staff. Funding will be provided by ISA via the soybean checkoff, ISU via state funding to the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences and the Agriculture Experiment Station and industry contributions. To learn more about ISA, go to www.iasoybeans.com.


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