Iowa State University Research is Integrated into New Soybean Products Produced by Iowa Farmers

James H. Jensen, Farm & Ag Business Management Field Specialist, Southeast Area

Problem Statement
Public funding for basic agricultural research has been decreasing at an increasing rate for many years now.  Large agricultural companies have taken over much of the crop variety research and are using this research position as a deterrent to entry of similar  business into the field.  Small producers do not have access to new, innovative germplasm from which to develop varieties that might work in the market place and are especially suited for Iowa.
Programmatic Response
Iowa State University has struggled to maintain a state of the art soybean breeding program that is responsive to the needs of Iowa farmers.  Dr. Walt Fehr has developed varieties that fit the value added health market by offering altered fatty acid profiles that produce oil and meal with characteristics that are more healthful than normal soybean products.  To help Iowa farmers adopt the new varieties, ISU has worked with farmers to assist in the adoption of the varieties into their crop production activities.  Jim Jensen was has spent the last two years holding production meetings, answering questions, researching markets, and speaking at conventions about the characteristics and uses of these new varieties.
Iowa farmers planted over 40,000 acres of the new soybean varieties in 2005 and continue to pursue increased markets for the use of the specialty products associated with the processing of these soybeans.  The 40,000 acres of these varieties represent farmer premiums of between $.50 and $1.00 extra per bushel.  The value added income to farmers would fall between 1 million and 2 million dollars depending on yields and premium rate.  The economic impact can be further amplified by adding the jobs created by the farmer companies that are growing, processing, and selling the new products.  Many of the markets are outside of Iowa and represent an inflow of money into the state.

March 9, 2006
121 - Adding Value and Enhancing Agricultural Products

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