The Mississippi Soybean Promotion Board recently invested $2.4 million — more than 80 percent of its budget — in helping farmers solve some of their most common production problems.

Due to declining aquifer levels, MSPB funds research to find more efficient irrigation practices. Additionally, MSPB will fund research on managing diseases and controlling herbicide-resistant weeds like Palmer amaranth and marestail, which cause major yield losses.

A strong soybean research program will have the maximum effect on the bottom line of Mississippi soybean farmers, says Jan de Regt, MSPB chairman. “There are many common, recurring issues that farmers face, and we’re helping farmers manage them.”

Soybean farmers rely on soybean research conducted at the university and Extension levels, and the board approved funding to help ensure qualified soybean scientists continue to be trained.

The $2.4 million MSPB invested includes support for graduate research assistantships and fellowships at Mississippi State University. It also includes funding of the Ed Hester Soybean Doctoral Fellowship in memory of the former Benoit, Miss., soybean farmer and past president of the Mississippi Soybean Association.

“Ed was an innovative producer and supporter of new technology,” says Larry Heatherly, MSPB research and technology transfer coordinator. “I could call him at any time and discuss how we could direct our efforts to solving production problems that soybean farmers faced. I am proud to be associated with the MSPB during the time that they honor his memory.” Students can apply for the Ed Hester Soybean Doctoral Fellowship on the MSPB website.