New program bridges resource gaps for next generation of problem solvers.
Putting technical training and research results to work are central to Eric Oseland’s view of his role for farmers. The first-year Ph.D. student at the University of Missouri is focused on controlling weeds in soybeans, and connects his work directly to challenges facing farmers – and their bottom line.
Oseland is the first recipient of the Foundation for Soy Innovation’s new scholarship, and plans to use his award to both further his education and share what he’s learned. He’ll use the $1,000 award toward travel to the March 2020 Weed Science Society of America conference where he’ll present his research on dicamba and the effect it has on soybeans.
For Oseland, the scholarship supports both his academic goals and professional aspirations. He’s charting a career path that will allow him to be a resource for others – assisting farmers, training developing agronomists and ag sales professionals, and designing research trials.
“When I complete my degree at the University of Missouri, I hope to work as an agronomist, consulting with farmers to develop strategies and select products to increase profitability and production,” he said.
Oseland works closely with Missouri’s Dr. Kevin Bradley, including on a research project funded by Missouri soybean farmers’ checkoff dollars and the Missouri Soybean Merchandising Council observing the effect low soil pH has on dicamba volatility. The work is directly related to challenges farmers have faced with off-target movement and dicamba injury in recent years.
“Dr. Bradley has trained me very well in implementing field and greenhouse trials in ways that provide useful and timely data to soybean producers,” he said.
Oseland completed his undergraduate work at Southern Illinois University – Carbondale, where he first worked on weed science research and earned a bachelor of science degree in Crop, Soil and Environmental Management.
In establishing the scholarship program, the farmers behind the Foundation for Soy Innovation envisioned supporting students and early-career faculty who are working directly to raise that bar. Scholarship funds may be used for coursework, supplies, specialty training and/or participation in a professional conference.
“We often talk about there being a bright future for soy, from its uses in livestock nutrition to building products and biodiesel, especially in Missouri,” said Matt McCrate, chairman of the Foundation. “Through the Foundation for Soy Innovation, we’re bringing together those who need to be at the table to really raise the bar on the work farmers have been doing, and to ensure that we’re taking full advantage of the opportunities ahead. This scholarship is one step in that effort.”
The Foundation for Soy Innovation exists to advance the technology, ingenuity and partnerships integral to the future for soy, at every stage in the process. From innovation in how farmers produce soy to elevating the ways we put soy to work, to developing environmentally friendly soy-based products, there are great opportunities ahead. Through this scholarship program and other efforts, the Foundation and its partners support academic and professional development of the next generation of leaders for the soy value chain.
The Foundation is led by soybean farmer and longtime seedsman Matt McCrate of Cape Girardeau. To learn more about the Foundation for Soy Innovation, explore soyfoundation.org.