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Arkansas Soybean Promotion Board

Soy News October 2000

Checkoff Facilitates Soybean Research Priorities

In an attempt to define and coordinate soybean research most needed by U.S. soybean farmers, the soybean checkoff conducted an industry-wide survey and analysis of current soybean research taking place in both the public and private sectors. Survey statistics yielded results that will help soybean farmer-leaders set priorities for research that will be conducted by the soybean checkoff.

Soybean farmer-leaders, researchers, food industry executives, animal scientists, executive directors of Qualified State Soybean Boards and other commodity group representatives were among those who participated in the soybean research survey. It listed the major categories of soybean research and asked respondents for their personal assessments of where future investigation was most needed. Other questions requested information on current research activities and priorities in each respondent's organization.

Generally, respondents feel that more soybean research is taking place in the area of grain quality than is needed, and not enough on human health. They also feel the checkoff needs to consider investing more in the areas of animal feed and environmental research. The analysis also categorizes checkoff-funded research and compares it to personal assessments and to actual soybean industry research priorities.

Soybean research makes up a significant portion of the soybean checkoff's strategic plan. Most research objectives fall under the checkoff's production goal, which is producing "U.S. soybeans more efficiently and in an environmentally friendly manner that meets the needs and desires of the end users." USB invests checkoff dollars in a wide range of soybean research projects. For example, the checkoff is conducting research to improve the composition of U.S. soybeans as part of its Better Bean Initiative. It invests in a national program to transfer drought tolerance to soybean varieties. It also invests in research to find new soybean uses such as soy-based paints, lubricants and adhesives.

As a result of the survey and analysis, a workshop was held in April to update checkoff research priorities. These priorities include: animal feed, composition, environmental benefits, genetics, human health, industrial uses and new uses, market development, production management practices, research management coordination, biotechnology and yield.

Checkoff Works to Move U.S. Soybeans

As U.S. soybean production reaches an all-time high, soybean checkoff farmer-leaders are stepping up efforts to increase global utilization of U.S. soybeans. In August, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) estimated U.S. farmers will harvest a record 73.5 million acres this fall. USDA estimates the average yield will be 40.7 bushels an acre, the second-highest yield ever. This will result in a record harvested crop of over 2.9 billion bushels.

"We need to do all we can to find a home for this soybean crop," said USB Chairman Don Latham, a soybean farmer from Alexander, Iowa. "The soybean checkoff must aggressively pursue additional markets internationally and domestically."

Farmers are already having success exporting U.S. soybeans. Checkoff-funded international marketing activities have helped propel U.S. soybean exports to new heights. According to USDA, U.S. soybean exports for the current marketing year total 967 million bushels, surpassing the previous record of 929 million in 1981-82. The marketing year ended Aug. 31.

Not only are soybean exports on the rise, so is domestic utilization. In 1999, domestic utilization of soybeans, which are commonly used for animal protein feeds, soy-based industrial products and consumer products, exceeded 1.6 billion bushels. Having attained its goal of increasing domestic utilization to 1.5 billion bushels by 2005, the checkoff is looking to boost domestic utilization to 1.75 billion bushels by 2005.

"We can create additional domestic demand through our efforts to develop new soybean uses, promote U.S. meat exports, explore additional health claims and promote products like soyfoods and biodiesel," explains Latham. "But with U.S. soybean production showing no signs of slowing down, that means U.S. soybean utilization is going to need to keep pace. That's why the soybean checkoff is going to continue to work in that direction and create opportunities for U.S. soybean farmers to maximize profits."

Arkansas Soybean Research Conference Scheduled

The 2000 Arkansas Soybean Research Conference has been scheduled for December 14, 2000, at the Convocation Center on the campus of Arkansas State University in Jonesboro. The conference will be open to the public and will feature updates on major soybean research efforts being conducted in Arkansas. The program is coordinated by the University of Arkansas Division of Agriculture, and made possible in part by the Arkansas Soybean Promotion Board.

Soy-Based Wood Adhesive Helps Boost Domestic Soy Utilization

A new soy-based wood adhesive, developed through soybean checkoff-funded research, is expected to help increase domestic U.S. soybean utilization and assist U.S. lumber companies in producing environmentally friendly finger-jointed lumber more efficiently. For four years, the soybean checkoff has invested in the development and commercialization of the new adhesive, which is expected to help U.S. soybean farmers achieve the checkoff's marketing goal to increase domestic utilization and exports from 2.2 billion bushels a year to 3 billion bushels by 2005.

"Soy-based wood adhesives have the potential to utilize 23 million bushels of our soybeans a year by 2005," said USB New Uses Chair Gene Lewis, a soybean farmer from Hardinsburg, Indiana.

"Long-term, soy-based adhesives for use in finger-jointed lumber, as well as particleboard, fiberboard, plywood and other lumber products also under development by the checkoff, have the potential to consume more than 150 million bushels of soybeans a year."

In addition to soy-based adhesives, the checkoff is conducting significant research to develop other soybean uses in areas such as coatings and inks, lubricants, plastics and specialty products like solvents to help increase utilization.

Checkoff-Funded Research Index Soon to be Distributed

A compilation of all checkoff-funded research in FY 2000 & FY 2001 has been developed by the United Soybean Board and will be distributed to soybean checkoff organizations in early October. The document lists all Production and New Uses Program research activities currently being funded by Qualified State Soybean Boards, regional organizations and USB.

Development of this compilation was funded by the Production Committee during the July meeting.

Information from this survey will be utilized during a Research Coordination Workshop scheduled for November, and will be used by USB Production Program staff as a tool to help analyze which areas of research are not being addressed and, conversely, which areas are being duplicated.

Arkansas Board Elects New Officers

The Arkansas Soybean Promotion Board met in August at the Northeast Research and Extension Center at Keiser. The meeting was held in conjunction with the research field day there and provided board members the opportunity to tour research test plots at the facility. During the meeting the Board elected new officers for the 2000-2001 fiscal year. The new officers are David Walt of Dumas, Chairman; Mary Ratcliffe of Sweet Home, Vice-Chairman; and David Feilke of Stuttgart, Secretary/Treasurer.

2000-2001 Arkansas Soybean Promotion Board:

David Walt, Dumas, Chair
Mary Ratcliffe, Sweet Home, Vice Chair
David Feilke, Stuttgart, Secretary/Treasurer
Bobby Crow, Dardanelle; Jerry Ford*, Lake Village; Thad Freeland, Tillar; Richard "Dick" Howard, Clarkedale; Roger Pohlner, Fisher; Art Simpson, Marked Tree

* Designates representatives on the United Soybean Board

Staffing provided by Warren Carter, Arkansas Farm Bureau Federation. For questions about any information in this newsletter or for more information on board-funded programs, please contact any of the above board members, call 501-228-1238, or write Arkansas Soybean Promotion Board, P. O. Box 31, Little Rock, AR 72203.

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For additional information about any board-related activity contact:

Arkansas Soybean Promotion Board
ATTN: Warren Carter
P.O. Box 31
Little Rock, AR 72203-0031
Phone: 501-228-1265

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