Mississippi’s soybean value grew $1 billion since 2006
“Both MSU and the Agricultural Research Service of the U.S. Department of Agriculture began substantial support of the soybean enterprise in the 1960s,” Bohach said.
The MSU Extension Service and the Mississippi Agricultural and Forestry Experiment Station, known as MAFES, began investing significant resources into the crop at that time.
“Dr. Edgar Hartwig at Stoneville was developing new soybean varieties, such as Lee, Bragg, Lamar, Sharkey and Forrest. These proved extremely beneficial for the Southern soybean industry and helped earn Dr. Hartwig a place in the Agricultural Research Service Hall of Fame,” Bohach said.
MAFES began work on soybean varieties, fertility, and weed and insect control. In 1972, the Mississippi Legislature founded the Soybean Promotion Board, which has helped fund research and Extension activities that significantly contributed to increasing soybean yields.
The Extension Service, which is marking its centennial anniversary in May, continues its mission to deliver research-proven information to the people of the state.
“Extension and research activities such as the SMART program in the past and the PHAUCET irrigation tool have been major factors in helping our producers harvest a crop valued at more than $1 billion for the first time ever in 2012 and again in 2013,” Bohach said.
SMART stands for Soybean Management by the Application of Research Technology, while PHAUCET stands for the Pipe Hole and Universal Crown Evaluation Tool.
Danny Murphy, owner of Murphy Farms in Madison County and chairman of the executive committee of the American Soybean Association, said soybeans have become a competitive crop today.
“You have to go back 20 years or more to when Alan Blaine was the Extension soybean specialist and Larry Heatherly at Stoneville helped pioneer the early-production system we use now,” Murphy said. “Their work elevated the soybean crop to where it was treated as important and not a stepchild as it may have been over its past history.”