In October, the Minnesota Soybean Research & Promotion Council (MSR&PC) Production Action Team released its request for proposals (RFP) to solicit research and technology transfer projects to meet the needs of Minnesota soybean farmers across the state. The RFP was based on needs assessment conducted at county meetings and through field-day surveys across the state during the 2014 growing season.
The due date for pre-proposals was Dec. 15, and the action team has received 28 responses ranging across the four primary production focused categories we administer: Agronomic Research and Tech Transfer, Disease and SCN Management, Insect Management, and Soybean Breeding, Molecular Genetics and Functional Genomics. The total request for funding across these 28 pre-proposals summed to just over $2.4 million with approximately $1.3 million available for the 2015-2016 research cycle.
Each year, the action team works to evaluate the pre-proposals based on the written submission and then holds face-to-face meetings with the prospective scientists to determine the best fit of the research to need. The Production Action Team is currently reviewing the submissions for funding in 2015-2016 and will meet with those scientists Jan. 20-21, 2015, before determining what projects will be recommended for funding.
The identification of need for Minnesota soybean farmers is an ongoing part of the production action team activity throughout the year. In that light, needs assessment is continuous with most of our focus happening during the active growing season in the past. This year we are hoping to gather a greater set of information as part of our needs assessment. Our first opportunity to receive your input will be Jan. 28-30 at Ag Expo in Mankato, Minn.
Please plan on attending the Expo this year to engage in commodity group activity as well as discover what is new for your operation via speakers and the trade show. With that, please come by MSR&PC booth 423/425 at the trade show and fill out a brief survey concerning unanswered or continuing needs in your soybean farming operation. We will use this information as well as our ongoing needs assessment throughout 2015 to guide the action team in developing the RFP and determining funding for the next year.
As you spend the winter months preparing and planning for the next growing season on your own farms, consider what points of information you still need to move toward greater success and let us know. You can communicate those needs at Ag Expo, through your local county leadership and the regional communication specialists that work with each organized county or directly with my office at Minnesota Soybean. With the information we gather from Minnesota farmers, the Production Action Team will continue to direct your checkoff funding to provide answers for increased yield and profitability for our soybean growers.
Dr. Paul Meints is the Director of Research at Minnesota Soybean and has an MS in plant breeding and genetics and a PhD in Seed Physiology. Email him at email@example.com.