Jim Schriver has raised soybeans all his life. He's also provided leadership to the Indiana Soybean Alliance. Now he's a director on the Untied Soybean Board. Recently he attended an in-depth tour of all the work related to soybean breeding underway at Purdue. Some of it is funded with ISA and/or USB checkoff dollars.
"It's extremely important for industry, the university and farmers through checkoffs to be cooperating with each other," says Schriver, Bluffton. "Budgets are tight all over, and state-of-the art researchers and plant breeders need support from checkoffs and industry to get the job done."
There is still a place for public varieties, Schriver insists. Some of the varieties that are released will be picked up by major seed suppliers and become varieties of the future. His belief in that was strengthened when he had a chance to talk to researchers looking for breakthroughs in soybean yields at the Purdue Agronomic Research Center recently. He's more convinced than ever that farmers' checkoff dollars and industry's research funds are on the right track supporting these types of programs.
"I would like to see even more collaboration in the future," he says. "Funding this type of work is going to pay big dividends. We're already starting to see it. Purdue and other universities can't do it today without financial support that keeps the researchers in the field, looking for the next breakthrough or next big traits.
Schriver has served as a director for USB for six years. He believes one of his jobs is to help see that checkoff dollars are invested wisely. He's proud to say checkoff dollars are helping rejuvenate public soybean breeding programs like the one at Purdue.
The Purdue effort includes actual soybean breeders, USDA staff and basic researchers who want to go back to the wild soybean and look for traits that could help varieties today.