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Soybean checkoff helps field days come to your farm

"Scout School" demonstrations assist Tennessee producers. Program backed by checkoff, touted by United Soybean Board.  

Soybean farmers in Tennessee now have a new way to learn how to increase soybean yields right from the comfort of their farms.

The United Soybean Board (USB), Tennessee Soybean Promotion Board (TSPB) and University of Tennessee (UT) Extension developed an Internet-based Soybean Scout School to help Tennessee farmers increase soybean yields by providing a convenient way to learn more about identifying and managing some major U.S. soybean pests and plant diseases.

“These Scout School demonstrations now available on the Internet offer us just about everything we might gain by attending a field day – with the exception of the free lunch,” says John Butler, USB director and a soybean farmer from Dyersburg, Tenn. “These short, easy-to-watch lessons by UT Extension experts can be easily accessed from computers on our farms or the smart phones more of us now carry that provide access to the Internet.”

The state and national soybean checkoff organizations partnered with UT Extension to produce four short video lessons on such important U.S. soybean topics as knowing the proper growth stage of soybeans, when and how to detect harmful pests and tips on how to manage weeds resistant to crop-protection products. The latest U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) crop production report shows U.S. soybean farmers harvested an average 41.3 bushels per acre, while Tennessee soybean yields this year will average only 34 bushels per acre.

 “While we’re expected to harvest an additional three bushels an acre this year compared to 2010, we can still perform some very basic tasks that can easily help increase our soybean yields much more,” says Butler. “The online Scout School segments offer all Tennessee soybean farmers a quick way to gain additional knowledge that can help make growing soybeans in our state more profitable.”

Tennessee soybean farmers can find the Scout School lessons at two locations on the Internet. They can find them at or at

Funding to create this new information for U.S. soybean farmers resulted from USB’s Soybean Production Research Technology Transfer program. Around 10 state soybean checkoff boards and land-grant universities participated in 2011. More than 15 have indicating an interest in getting more checkoff-funded production research results in the hands of U.S. soybean farmers through the program in 2012.

USB is made up of 69 farmer-directors who oversee the investments of the soybean checkoff on behalf of all U.S. soybean farmers. Checkoff funds are invested in the areas of animal utilization, human utilization, industrial utilization, industry relations, market access and supply. As stipulated in the Soybean Promotion, Research and Consumer Information Act, USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service has oversight responsibilities for USB and the soybean checkoff.

For more information on the United Soybean Board, visit

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