Several prominent researchers provided updates on a wide variety of research funded by both the national soybean checkoff and the Illinois Soybean Association.

They provided overviews on aphid research, addressing the soybean meal needs of animal agriculture, soybean marketing, the impact of technology on productivity and research specifically targeting genes that could increase U.S. soybean yields.

Funding significant soybean research isn’t new to the checkoff. In 2009, researchers completed sequencing the soybean genome. Since that time, they have developed more than 50,000 markers distributed over all the soybean chromosomes, which have enabled soybean breeders to identify the location of key genes, making incorporating those genes in new U.S. soybean varieties quicker than in the past.

“It’s important that the checkoff help spearhead this type of research,” says Hartke.

“We believe access to key yield genes should remain in the public domain. This helps ensure wider availability of the genes to researchers and plant breeders.”

Pending full approval by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Agricultural Marketing Service, researchers involved in the task of identifying and evaluating yield genes will begin work this fall.

USB is made up of 69 farmer-directors who oversee the investments of the soybean checkoff on behalf of all U.S. soybean farmers. Checkoff funds are invested in the areas of animal utilization, human utilization, industrial utilization, industry relations, market access and supply.

As stipulated in the Soybean Promotion, Research and Consumer Information Act, USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service has oversight responsibilities for USB and the soybean checkoff.

For more information on the United Soybean Board, visit