November 13,2003



University of Illinois in US Named To Operate US National Soy Research Lab

CHAMPAIGN, ILL. - Illinois soybean farmers today announced a 3-year continuation of an endowment at the University of Illinois designed to help with strategic planning for the soybean industry. The agreement was signed at the National Soybean Research Center (NSRC).

Farmers, via the Illinois Soybean Checkoff, created an endowment in 1996 to form the Soybean Industry Chair for Agricultural Strategy at the University of Illinois. The chairmanship included agricultural strategy for the soybean industry, as well as management of the newly created NSRL. At that time, Steven Sonka, Ph.D., was selected to serve as the head and administrator of the endowment.

Sonka's retirement in December of 2002 led to the division of these responsibilities into two categories: director of the Lab, and fellow in strategy for the soybean industry. Steven Pueppke, Ph.D., will serve as the Director of NSRL, and Peter Goldsmith, Ph.D. will serve as the NSRL Fellow in Agricultural Strategy.

Dr. Pueppke currently serves as the Associate Dean for Research for the College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences (ACES), is the Interim Director for ACES Global Connect, and is a Professor of Plant Pathology in the Department of Crop Sciences, University of Illinois. Dr. Goldsmith is currently an Assistant Professor of Agribusiness Management in the Department of Agricultural and Consumer Economics, University of Illinois. Both will serve these positions with a 25 percent appointment in addition to their current responsibilities.

"These two positions provide a very stable center for industry-wide leadership and strategy so that all soybean programs may be integrated into an effective package," said Sharon Covert, chair of the Illinois Soybean Checkoff Board and soybean farmer from Tiskilwa. "This investment ensures that producer profitability is always of utmost concern now or fifty years in the future."

The Illinois Soybean Checkoff funds development and commercialization of new soybean uses like biodiesel and soy ink. Funds also used in supporting international and domestic marketing efforts, education programs and soybean research. The Illinois Soybean Checkoff Board is made up of 18 elected, volunteer soybean farmers and administers one-half of national soybean checkoff funds collected in Illinois.

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