ANKENY, Iowa — A multi-state soybean research initiative dedicated to more effective coordination and collaboration among all sectors of the industry to the benefit of farmers has named its inaugural director.
Katherine Drake Stowe, PhD, takes the helm of the U.S. Soybean Research Collaborative (USSRC). The project, involving multiple state and national soybean organizations including Qualified State Soybean Boards and United Soybean Board, will initiate and sustain greater connectivity between agronomic soybean research and all facets of the U.S. soy supply chain.
Soybean leaders in Iowa and Illinois have provided initial funding to kickstart the USSRC. Additional funding and engagement partners are reviewing and acting on investment proposals. The project was developed from discussions held at the first annual Soybean Research Forum and Think Tank held last year in Indianapolis.
“Greater coordination and transparency on soybean research are essential to the industry’s future success,” said Stowe, who previously served as research coordinator for the North Carolina Soybean Producers Association (NCSPA). “There are tremendous efficiencies and outcomes that can result from networking more effectively within the U.S. soybean family.”
“I’m looking forward to building bridges between U.S. soybean farmers and public institutions, private industries and federal and state agencies and departments,” she added. “Doing so will enhance the pace and success of checkoff-funded research, bringing greater value to every soybean farmer.”
The project will raise awareness, build bridges and create collaborative public and private partnerships that go beyond traditional research that’s been focused on production and new uses.
One potential outcome from greater collaboration throughout the soy value chain is linking traits and genetics of soybeans produced by farmers with the needs of the end user. This would be especially beneficial as farmers look to grow soybeans yielding greater oil content to meet the needs of processors and users of biofuels, including renewable diesel.
“USSRC is about exploring new research opportunities and endeavors to complement and give added emphasis to what states, regions and USB are leading,” Stowe said. “It’s about adding to, not replacing or usurping the great work that has and is being done.”
Stowe was raised on a family farm in eastern North Carolina where she gained a love and appreciation for agriculture. She attended North Carolina State University where she earned a B.S. in Polymer and Color Chemistry and a M.S. and Ph.D. in Crop Science.
During her time with the NCSPA, Stowe helped soybean growers improve their productivity and profitability by leading the association’s research efforts. She served as the liaison between research partners and soybean farmers and communicated results from sponsored research to growers.
“I have a passion for serving soybean farmers and contributing to their success,” she added. “I look forward to bringing my skills, expertise and relationships to this new endeavor to make USSRC a helpful partner to all sectors of the soybean industry.”
–U.S. Soybean Research Collaborative