Marshall Martin has a new task. The veteran Purdue University staffer is the new director for the Purdue University soybean Center.
"This Center will cut across many departments and help people collaborate more efficiently," says Jay Akridge, Purdue Dean of Agriculture. He made the comments while announcing Martin as head for the new Center. Purdue already has Centers for various efforts, including Commercial Agriculture, headed up by Jim Mintert.
The Centers aren't physical places, but are instead a network of researchers and Extension people working on related topics. In soybeans, the Center is expected to tackle subjects as far-ranging as developing resistance to soybean diseases to finding better uses for the crop.
"That is one of our first challenges – narrowing down and focusing in on what the center should do," Martin says. "I will visit with key people who will be part of the network at Purdue for the Center. I want to know what their vision and dream is for the Center in the future. Then we can begin to put together a strategic plan that shows the kind of projects we should be working on now and in the future."
Shaun Casteel, Purdue University Extension soybean specialist, is expected to play a key role in facilitating soybean work related to the Center's objectives, Martin says. He opened eyes a year ago when he held a "soybean day" at the Purdue Agronomic Research center near West Lafayette. Many people left impressed with the amount and variety of work going on at ACRE alone to search for new traits, especially defensive traits, and work on issues directly related to unlocking the key to higher soybean yields.
Akridge made the announcement in the Glass Barn at the Indiana State Fair. The Indiana Soybean Alliance, which paid for and staffed the glass barn, is also supportive of the idea of opening a Soybean Center to focus on issues related to growing and marketing soybeans.
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