Despite the continued decline of soybean prices in recent years, the Virginia Soybean Board had more money to invest in finding ways to improve yields, markets and new uses for the 2000-2001 year.

Record-breaking yields and planted acreage resulted in more check-off funding for soybeans supporting research, promotion and education.

Meeting in Williamsburg recently for its annual project review, the Virginia Soybean Board, made up of seven producers and four industry representatives, approved grants that board members characterized as “one of the best group of proposals we've seen,” totaling $196,724.

After hearing 13 detailed proposals for funds, three youth education projects were identified as the number one prorate. The board agreed and voted unanimously to fully fund Agriculture in the Classroom for $1,925, the Virginia FFA Crop Career Development Event for $1,200 and a Virginia Tech Agronomy Educational Program for $1,000.

Virginia's 2000 soybean crop was estimated at 19,110,000 bushels, a record far exceeding the 1999 crop of 11,880,000 bushels. Excellent weather conditions and increased planted acreage contributed to the increase and offset historic low per-bushel prices.

Under the national check-off program, soybean farmers contribute one-half of one percent of their crop value at the first point of sale, sending half of that assessment to the United Soybean Board and granting the remaining half to research and market development projects in and around Virginia.

A summary of other grants funded at the board's meeting include:

  • $3,000 to a team of Virginia Cooperative Extension agents headed by David Moore to continue research with replicated plots studying nematodes, Stiletto fungicide seed treatment and thrips infestation. Further studies pursue soybean variety comparisons as well as area grower concerns and are designed to help farmers improve yield and profit potential.

  • $4,000 to Henry Wilson and William A. Bailey to continue research into weed control practices, including benefits of adding traditional herbicides to Roundup to improve weed management; compare Roundup to Touchdown; study the effectiveness of Valor; study new herbicide systems Extreme and Backdraft; and determine changes in ecology due to continuos herbicide systems and their effects on weed species shifts.

  • $20,793 to David Holshouser, soybean specialist with the Tidewater Agricultural Research Center, to support his statewide soybean research and Extension program. This includes the continuation of research in conducting the state's first variety trials, developing and disseminating Extension publications to producers and directing a wide variety of soybean production studies.

  • $5,000 to Scott Hagood, Virginia Tech Extension weed specialist, on research into the cost/benefit characteristics of herbicide programs for weed control in Virginia soybeans.

  • $10,000 to Sue Tolin for research on viruses infecting soybeans in Virginia, including green stem, soybean mosaic and soybean dwarf.

  • $16,000 to Glen R. Buss, Virginia Tech, to continue work to develop soybean varieties adapted to the various environments and cropping systems in Virginia.

  • $9,756 to Ames Herbert, Virginia Tech entomologist, to continue studies of the relationship between soybean leaf area and insect management strategies.

  • $114,050 to the Virginia Soybean Association to support the group's statewide soybean promotion and education programs, including the Virginia Ag Expo, the Virginia Corn & Soybean Conference, Virginia Ag Day and Virginia State Fair exhibits. In addition, funding will support a variety of long-term projects as well as an association operations office in Williamsburg and the expansion of soybean new use initiatives such as the promotion of biodiesel.

  • $5,000 to Raga M. Bakhit, Virginia Tech, to continue a study on the effect of soy isoflavones in the fight against heart disease.

  • $5,000 to Petra H. Nass to provide partial funding for a pilot project at Johns Hopkins to study the effects of soy isoflavones on the treatment of esophageal cancer.