The Buzz

News and notes from the Kansas Soybean Expo.

Published on: Jan 14, 2008

The Kansas Soybean Expo, held last week in conjunction with the Topeka Farm Show in the state's Capital City, is one of our favorite events to attend each year. There are plenty of farmers present, the information presented is very good and the food, top-notch. It's also a good place to catch up on agricultural news from around the state…

  • Last August, we reported that the Renewable Energy Group of Ralston, Iowa announced it would build a biodiesel plant near Emporia. The 60 million gallon-per-year facility would use soybean oil piped in from Bunge's soybean processing plant, a mile or so down the road…
  • Before Christmas, construction was halted on the plant, says Jerry Murphy, Kansas Soybean Association board member from Bunge in Emporia…
  • At 50 cents per pound, soybean oil now costs roughly twice the norm – rendering biodiesel production unfeasible. "We need more producers dramatically. The more soybeans farmers produce, the better for all of us," Murphy told the Soybean Expo audience…
  • While not a grain marketer by trade, Murphy added that, "if you were to ask, I'd say that for 2008 beans, I'd have half my crop sold by May 1."…
  • Kansas State University economist Mike Woolverton adds that he expects soybean acreage to increase, in the U.S., by 10% in 2008. There is a caveat, he says: "Farmers plant corn first, and they plant until they run out of seed…"
  • Some of the more interesting tidbits aren't necessarily found in workshops. For instance, we learned that Forrest Chumley, Kansas State University's associate director of research and technology transfer for the College of Agriculture, is leaving his post in February to assume a role with EdenSpace, a biofuel firm in Junction City…
  • That leaves a void in the College of Agriculture, as Chumley was working hard to boost K-State's role in the wheat genome sequencing project, in addition to adding much-needed money to the College's wheat breeding department…
  • Asian soybean rust invaded Kansas last year for the first time, although the infection was late enough in the season that minimal damage was caused. K-State plant pathologist Doug Jardine says the odds of ASR returning to Kansas in 2008 are 50-50; he adds that there is a 20% chance that significant financial damage could occur due to the disease…
  • Congratulations to Gene and Nancy Swearingen, Hiawatha, who earned the 2007 Western Region Conservation Legacy Award from the American Soybean Association...
  • Finally, a bitter pill for farmers and ranchers in south central Kansas to swallow. KFTI Radio, Wichita, laid off several employees last week, including Rex Childs, the long-time agribusiness farm director on AM-1070…
  • It's sad that agriculture news has become so unimportant to the state's largest city – which in its heyday was one of the largest cattle towns in the nation – that one of the state's legendary broadcasters has been let go.