Expanding Their Expertise

Missouri Soybean Center focused on promoting and enhancing Missouri soybean research, teaching and extension

The University of Missouri soybean community has recently developed the Missouri Soybean Center, with a focus on, “Promoting and enhancing Missouri soybean research, teaching and extension to address current and future challenges facing the soybean industry.”

The Center will be unveiled during the Missouri Soybean Center Symposium, which will take place from 8 a.m. to 5:15 p.m. Thursday, April 28, in the Monsanto Auditorium of the Bond Life Sciences Center on the University of Missouri campus.

The Missouri Soybean Center Symposium will feature numerous speakers -- including a farmer, graduate student, and a handful of professors.The Missouri Soybean Center Symposium will feature numerous speakers — including a farmer, graduate student and a handful of professors.

“The soybean is our No. 1 crop in the state,” said Bill Wiebold, professor, plant sciences. “We have expertise here at the University of Missouri that probably few other universities have – looking at the breadth of everything from molecular biology to extension.”

Interested individuals can register on the Missouri Soybean Center website. The first 125 registered attendees will receive a free lunch.

Registration begins at 8 a.m. on April 28. At 9 a.m., Garnett Stokes, MU Provost; Gary Wheeler, Executive Director/CEO, Missouri Soybean Association; Richard Joost, Director of Supply Programs, United Soybean Board; and Jim English, Director, Division of Plant Sciences; will unveil the Missouri Soybean Center.

Following the unveiling, a diverse lineup of speakers will present.

“A soybean symposium is not necessarily new,” Wiebold said. “This is probably a little bit broader in its reach, though. We’re going to have a farmer talk, we’ll have a graduate student talk. It’s a little bit different.”

Robert Alpers, from Prairie Home, Mo., will discuss the challenges soybean farmers faced in 2015.

“I’m really pleased to have a farmer come in and talk to the group,” Wiebold said. “This will be a good opportunity to hear what a soybean farmer dealt with in 2015.”

Michelle Folta, a Ph.D. student in plant sciences at Mizzou, will present on using RNA interference to reduce soybean seed raffinose.

“It’s exciting to have a graduate student present as well,” Wiebold said. “They’re the future.”

The afternoon sessions will include Melissa Mitchum, an MU associate professor, and Douglas Allen, a USDA research scientist with the Danforth Plant Science Center.

Randy Nelson, University of Illinois USDA/ARS, will give the Poehlmann Lecture. The Poehlmann Lecture is an endowment used to bring in guest speakers.

Bill Wiebold gives an update on his soybean research at the Bradford Research Center nearly two years ago. Wiebold will present during the Missouri Soybean Center Symposium on Thursday, April 28.Bill Wiebold gives an update on his soybean research at the Bradford Research Center nearly two years ago. Wiebold will present during the Missouri Soybean Center Symposium on Thursday, April 28.

“That lecture has existed for a while,” Wiebold said. “It’s great to have that as part of this symposium. Randy Nelson is really well known around the nation. He’ll do a great job.”

The last hour of the day will include a reception and an opportunity to have a conversation with the speakers.

“I feel good about bringing all kinds of disciplines and all kinds of viewpoints together,” Wiebold said. “You have the federal group, you have the University, you have the farmers – it’s quite the coalition.”

For more information about the symposium, contact Wiebold at WieboldW@missouri.edu. A full list of speakers and topics can be found here.

“It’s exciting,” Wiebold said. “There is so much to talk about when it comes to soybeans. People are excited about the opportunities that will be presented by the center, and they want to be a part of it.”