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  • Ron Kotrba

Missouri soy farmers award nearly $2.5M for 31 projects, including 5 focused on biodiesel

Much like the Missouri Soybean Merchandising Council did 30 years ago when it invested in early research that jumpstarted the U.S. biodiesel industry, MSMC just announced nearly $2.5 million in soybean research, development and education projects this year, once again demonstrating that the state’s soybean farmers are readily investing in their future. MSMC is funding 31 projects ranging in value from just over $16,000 to nearly half a-million dollars. The projects selected for funding address challenges directly affecting Missouri’s soybean farmers, markets and future opportunities. At least five of the projects are directly related to biodiesel.

The Monsanto Education Center for Sustainable Solutions in the Rockwood Summit School District is receiving $21,600 for a project coordinator/research assistant to improve the educational outreach of the MECSS as a STEM/agricultural resource for the St. Louis metro area. Rockwood Summit High School has featured a biodiesel education program for the past 10 years.

MSMC is providing $25,000 to Three Rivers College’s Diesel Technology Program to offer biodiesel courses to educate students on the positive advantages and impact biodiesel has on industry.

The National Biodiesel Board has been approved for funding by MSMC for three separate projects, each for $25,000.

One is to maintain and secure OEM approvals for B20 and higher blends of biodiesel through training programs and relationship building, strategic planning, technical briefings and updates to targeted OEMs, in addition to continued networking with groups such as Clean Cities, the Diesel Technology Forum, auto industry trade associations and other stakeholders.

Another NBB project is to continue biodiesel’s market expansion drive, a highly targeted national ad campaign to proactively and aggressively build biodiesel’s brand as better, cleaner, and available now.

The third NBB project to receive MSMC funding is for quality assurance programs to minimize barriers to growth and higher volumes of soybean oil and biobased diesel consumption.

“Research is a cornerstone of our pursuit of innovative solutions to the challenges we face as farmers,” said Kyle Durham, a farmer and chairman of MSMC’s board of directors. “Farmers' support of this work remains focused on addressing barriers and strengthening our state’s soybean farmers to weather any storms on the horizon. Collaboration and partnerships are vital to maximizing the effectiveness of our research dollars, and it’s exciting to see the work slated for the year.”

Other projects funded include Missouri’s northern and southern soybean breeding programs, as well as work on soy-based golf balls, disease resistance and herbicide tolerance, and soil health. For the full list of funded projects and descriptions, click here.

Funding decisions are made by the 13-member MSMC board following review by staff and outside consultants. The work is funded through the soy checkoff program, in which farmers contribute one-half of 1 percent of the sale price of their soybeans to research, promotion and education. Each project is evaluated individually and by a committee of farmers on the state soy checkoff board.

The Missouri Soybean Merchandising Council solicits proposals each fall, and project evaluations for new and ongoing projects are completed during the winter and spring. Funding for selected projects typically begins July 1.

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