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SOYBEAN POSITION By Carol Stender

cstender@agrinews.com

The Minnesota Soybean Growers Association wants a soybean research position added at the state's USDA-Agriculture Research Service site on the University of Minnesota St. Paul campus.

The position is needed in an effort to boost protein and oil levels in upper Midwest soybeans, which are consistently lower than the national average.

MSGA started the push a year ago via a request to U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Ann Veneman. They next contacted Minnesota's congressional delegation.

None of the state's congressional delegation sits on a committee that deals directly with the position's funding. But MSGA isn't giving up, because elected officials can urge their counterparts to help.

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"The new Cargill facility (for plant and microbial genetic research) is a state of the art facility,' said Sherry Lowe, MSGA communications director. "With the University of Minnesota budget so tight, it would be a benefit for everybody to get the position. One of the advantages of bringing an ARS professor to the university facility is that the lab is already there and it would be ready for use. We just need the researcher."

MSGA's initial focus is on protein and oil levels. Minnesota's soybeans are only 1 percent lower in protein but each bushel of the state's soybeans is discounted about 9 cents per bushel, according to estimates, Lowe said.

Weather is a contributing factor to lower protein levels because of the state's short summers and cool soils. Genomic research can lead to soybean varieties that can boost the protein content and provide disease and pest resistance.

While Minnesota's soybean growers are leading the drive for a researcher, the results of research will apply to North Dakota, South Dakota and Wisconsin, Lowe said. The MSGA, however, wants the position located in the state with the genomics laboratory.

The MSGA wants soybean growers to contact Minnesota's congressional delegation, Lowe said.

Producers should ask for a Minnesota delegation-wide letter to the Appropriations Committee, requesting that this year's USDA appropriations bill include an ARS genomics position at the University of Minnesota, Lowe said.

For information on how to contact the state's Congressional members, producers can call the Minnesota Soybean office at 1-888-896-9678.

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