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‘Think regionally’ with soybeans (Editorial)

There is a new national pattern emerging in the administration of the 25-year-old soybean checkoff program.
It’s called regionalization.
The concept embodies joining states together, in various regions of the country, in soybean research projects — or other efforts funded by the United Soybean Board with checkoff funds — rather than each of the states undertaking a similar project individually.
The concept, thus, avoids duplication and redundancy, should be considerably less costly overall, and say, in the matter of a newly revised method of soybean production, should apply broadly over the entire region rather than a single state is which the research was performed.
In the Mid-Atlantic, there are two new regional bodies or organizations, responding to the call of the United Soybean Board to “think regionally.”
They are the Mid-Atlantic Double Crop lnitiative and the Atlantic Soybean Council.
The double crop initiative, under the direction of agronomists, binds six states in a search for in-field production answers to boosting the yields of double crop soybeans
The Atlantic Soybean Council, under the administration of a board of farmer directors, will cast a wider net, addressing all manner of regional research needs and perhaps other areas of concern such as outreach to — and education of — consumers.
The regions represented in the two efforts, as presently constituted, are alike with a single exception.
Joined in the double crop initiative and the Atlantic Soybean Council are Maryland, Delaware, Virginia, Pennsylvania and New Jersey.
For the double crop initiative, add North Carolina and for the ASC replace North Carolina with New York.
The ASC will also represent soybean growers in Atlantic states such as Florida, West Virginia and New England which pay into the checkoff but do not have state soybean boards.
Three other regional coalitions have been formed in soybean growing states in the central part of the nation where farmers, not as devoted to double cropping their beans, will be watching closely the results of the Mid-Atlantic research.
USB has a goal to increase soybean production by 36 percent by 2025,which will require a 15-plus bushel-per-acre increase using currently available land area.
Although challenging, the goal is possible with new and innovative technologies and cropping systems.
Increasing double-crop yields is one solution.
Double-crop beans tend to yield 10 to 30 percent less than full-season soybeans, due to late planting, which results in a shorter growing season.
There’s a lot of wheat and barley acreage out there that doesn’t get a second crop.
Soybean industry leaders would like to put it to work.