The American Soybean Association (ASA) submitted comments representing the interests of U.S. soybean farmers at the Aapril 13 National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) workshop on stakeholder priorities in the area of Plant and Pest Biology.

ASA’s research, education and Extension priorities were presented to NIFA administrators and other stakeholders during the workshop in Washington, D.C.

“The research priority of ASA is to translate the insight from plant biology and data generated from sequencing the soybean genome into tools for improving food and feed globally, growing crops more efficiently, and producing energy,” said ASA President Rob Joslin, a soybean producer from Sidney, Ohio. “The economic and political environment brings these ideas into focus and underscores the critical challenges that face American agriculture.”

ASA’s comments to NIFA identified some of the challenges and responsibilities of U.S. agriculture at the workshop as translating the advances in plant biology to nutrition to address hunger and prevent disease; sustainable, economic supplies of energy; to improve plant resistance to environmental and biological stresses; and to increase the genetic potential for yield.

In this effort to translate research into applications, ASA supports effective food and agriculture education efforts across the educational spectrum, from research experiences for K-12 teachers through post-graduate fellowships.

“As the need for research on food and agriculture grows, the gap between the supply of researchers and the demand for employees in agricultural fields expands,” Joslin said. “At the same time, there is confusion among consumers and voters about food and how it is produced. The shortage of researchers is not independent of the lack of knowledge among the general population about food production.

“Expanding agricultural research has long been a goal of ASA,” Joslin said. “We thank NIFA for their efforts to gather the research priorities of U.S. soybean farmers and other stakeholders with this workshop.”

ASA represents all U.S. soybean farmers on domestic and international issues of importance to the soybean industry. ASA’s advocacy efforts are made possible through the voluntary membership in ASA by over 22,500 farmers in 31 states where soybeans are grown.