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Research Funding to Improve Soil Health, Soybean Quality

Farmers for Soybean Health is a collaboration among several agriculture groups, with the goal of improving soil health across farm country. Shannon Ellis, a director with the United Soybean Board, talks about the collaboration.

“Farmers for Soil Health is an exciting collaborative partnership between the United Soybean Board, the National Corn Growers Association, and the National Pork Board, and the objective is to improve soil health practices on corn and soybean farms across the country. So, the primary goal in advancing those soil health practices is by adding 30 million acres of cover crops on corn and soybean farms by the year 2030.”

She talks about the resources they’re going to use to meet their goals.

“We have leveraged $95 million in grant money from USDA’S Climate-Smart Program and that will provide value to the farmers. And they will have access to this through things like cost-share programs, technical assistance in 20 different states, and a market platform that is going to connect buyers to farmers who are producing their crops sustainably.”

The resources are important to help make improving soil health affordable for farmers.

“Absolutely. And as a Virginia farmer, we have used cover crops and no-till since the 80s, but we recognize that this is something that has not been done as much across the country, so we’re pleased to see this happening. But we do recognize that it is an expensive venture for the farmer, so we appreciate that support to make this happen.”

The USB also funds many research projects to improve soybeans for their end-users.

“The checkoff board is funding research, education, and promotion across all of that, but specifically in animal ag, we’re looking at always how to make a better bean. For the past 50 years or so, soybean meal has been the predominant feed ingredient because of its amino acid profile, energy, vitamins, and minerals. It’s a high-quality feed ingredient. However, we’re always looking to improve that for end-user and as I mentioned, animal ag is our number one consumer of that.”

Story provided by NAFB News Service and Brian Winnekins, WRDN, Durand, Wisconsin

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