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Americas: University to open center for soybean production, use

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Purdue University is establishing a center that for faculty and staff members coordinating research, extension and education to advance the production and use of soybeans.

Purdue’s work with the soybean industry is important because soybeans are a major crop in Indiana, where farmers last year produced 264.7 million bushels, fourth highest in the nation, on 5.2 million acres.

This year, Indiana farmers planted 5.5 million acres in soybean.

The Soybean Center will formally begin operations in the last quarter of 2014.

Marshall Martin, senior associate director of agricultural research, assistant dean of agriculture, and a professor of agricultural economics, was appointed as the center’s founding director for two years.

His immediate focus will be to consult with faculty and staff members and representatives of the soybean industry in developing a strategic plan for research and extension that engages Purdue faculty and staff in key issues of the soybean “value chain”.

That includes food for a fast-growing world population and feed for animals as well as other uses such as biofuels and industrial uses.

That value chain, Martin noted, links research in such areas as animal and human nutrition sciences; food science; aquaculture; plant pathology; economics; engineering; genetics and breeding; agronomic production practices; and entomology.

“With more than 40 faculty and staff members at Purdue whose work in some way involves soybeans, we are pooling our resources to help tackle some of the complex challenges affecting the efficiency and profitability of the soybean industry as well as the food nutrition needs of the public,” he said.

The center also will enhance internships for Purdue students, he added.

A major component of the center’s activities will be the involvement of the soybean industry.

“The creation of the Purdue Soybean Center will allow us to build upon the solid working relationship the Indiana Soybean Alliance has with the university and expand our opportunities to collaborate on important issues affecting our farmers and the entire soybean industry,” said Jane Ade Stevens, CEO of the alliance.

Story by Keith Robinson of Purdue University.