Four organizations represented are represented on the Mississippi Soybean Promotion Board: The Mississippi Farm Bureau Federation, the Delta Council, the Mississippi Feed Grains Association, and the Mississippi Soybean Association, each with three farmer representatives.

When a farmer sells his soybeans, at the point of first purchase one-half of 1 percent of the value of the beans is collected by the Mississippi Department of Agriculture. “For $10 soybeans, this would amount to 5 cents per bushel,” says Keith Morton, Falkner producer, who is chairman of the board. Half of the money goes to the national United Soybean Board for its research and promotion programs, and the remainder is used for programs in Mississippi.

“The duty of the board is to invest soybean farmers’ money in ways that will give them the most benefit.”

Mississippi has two representatives on the United Soybean Board — Marc Curtis of Leland, who is USB chairman, and Jimmy Sneed of Hernando, USB communications vice chairman.

“The Mississippi Soybean Promotion Board wants to identify needs, find solutions to those needs, verify results, and get results in farmers’ hands as quickly as possible for the maximum benefit,” Morton says.

Research is a priority in utilizing the funds, he notes, and the organization has recently contracted with Larry Heatherly, former USDA soybean researcher, to serve as coordinator of the board’s research efforts.

Input is sought from farmers, researchers, consultants, industry representatives and others to determine the most important issues, Morton notes. Proposals that are developed are reviewed, discussed, and voted on by the entire MSPB.

“We’re blessed to have Mississippi State University’s extensive Extension, research, and education infrastructure, the USDA-ARS scientists, and the agricultural consultants organization as valuable resources for our state’s soybean growers,” Morton says.

Among the “most important” projects funded by the MSPB, he says, are control of glyphosate-resistant weeds, the Mississippi State University soybean variety trials, sponsorship of the Farm Bureau Federation’s “Farm Families of Mississippi” image campaign, and support of a collaborative regional research effort that includes Mississippi, Arkansas, Louisiana, and Texas.

Other projects include fungicide and fertility practices that may help protect soybean seed quality, tests for quality of soybeans stored in grain storage bags, studies of soybean inoculants, entomology, and irrigation practices.

“A new project for us is the website mssoy.org, which will be a valuable tool in getting relevant information to farmers in a more timely fashion. We’ll also be using Twitter for alerts and updates of important news and events.”