INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. — Plans to establish the Purdue University Soybean Center, which will combine the expertise of faculty and staff members coordinating research, extension and education to advance the production and use of soybeans, were announced Friday in the year-old Glass Barn at the Indiana State Fair.
The Center will begin operations in the fall. Marshal Martin, senior associate director of agricultural research, assistant dean of agriculture and professor of agricultural economics, was appointed director for a two-year term. Described by Jay Akridge, Glenn W. Sample Dean of Purdue Agriculture, as having a comprehensive understanding of Purdue’s work on soybeans, Martin also has connections with the Indiana Soybean Alliance (ISA) and state soybean growers.
Martin’s 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 the soybean’s "value chain." That chain includes food for a rapidly growing world population, feed for animals and other uses such as biofuel and industrial.
In addition, he noted the value chain links research in animal and human nutrition sciences, food science, aquaculture, plant pathology, economics, engineering, genetics and breeding, agronomic production practices and entomology.
Martin said Purdue has more than 40 faculty and staff members whose work in some way involves soybeans.
"We are pooling our resources to help tackle some of the complex challenges affecting the industry, as well as the food nutrition needs of the public," he said.
Soybeans are a major crop in Indiana. Last year farmers produced 264.7 million bushels, the fourth-highest in the nation, on 5.2 million acres. This year they planted 5.5 million acres in soybeans.
Jane Ade Stevens, CEO of the ISA, hailed the creation of Purdue’s Soybean Center as a platform on which to build upon the solid working relationship the Alliance has with Purdue. "It will expand our opportunities to collaborate on important issues affecting our farmers and the entire soybean industry."
ISA President David Lowe added, "Uniting faculty whose work touches on soybeans under one umbrella will allow us to ensure that our checkoff investments at Purdue are used efficiently and in the best interest of Indiana soybean farmers."