ISU, Iowa Soybean Association on National Team Honored for Excellence in Research Collaboration on Soybean Rust

AMES, Iowa -- Iowa State University and the Iowa Soybean Association were members of a research team that received a national award for excellence in multistate research for its response to an emerging threat to the nation's soybean growers.

The Excellence in Multistate Research Award was given Nov. 11 in Denver at the annual meeting of the Association of Public and Land-Grant Universities (APLU). For the past five years, APLU and the U.S. Department of Agriculture's National Institute of Food and Agriculture have presented the award in recognition of successful, well-coordinated, high-impact research and extension efforts.

This year's award was given to a team of agricultural scientists at land-grant universities, federal agencies and agricultural associations across the country for identifying management strategies for soybean rust, a fungal disease that poses a serious threat to U.S. soybean production.

The team recognized for responding rapidly to the threat of soybean rust, which was first detected in the United States in 2004, and caused serious concern due to high yield losses from the disease in South America. The team was instrumental in building relationships among researchers, soybean growers, industry associations and international partners and mobilizing regional resources to provide a structured, efficient response to the emerging threat.

In Iowa, the Iowa Soybean Rust Team was formed by ISU, Iowa Soybean Association, Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship and the USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service.

The Iowa team helped prepare information and recommendations for Iowa's number-one-in-the-nation soybean growers. ISU was the leading institution in establishing a national sentinel plot program, which was critical to the success of soybean rust management. As part of the effort, ISU Extension and Outreach trained hundreds of Iowa agribusiness professionals to be "first detectors" for the disease. ISU scientists also have worked on new ways address the problem, including development of technology to identify specific soybean genes involved in resistance to soybean rust.

The national team of scientists has taken crucial steps toward minimizing the disease threat, which has spread through the southern and midwestern U.S., with some states experiencing severe yield losses in isolated areas. Researchers have tested and registered fungicides for use in the U.S., giving soybean producers more options for controlling the disease. The project established an extensive disease monitoring system that has helped farmers know more precisely when and what types of fungicide to use. Timely, accurate information has greatly reduced the amount of fungicide used by growers, thus saving the soybean industry hundreds of millions of dollars and reducing human and environmental health risks.

The group also was recognized for innovative research on disease-resistant soybean varieties, which will provide more environmentally and economically sustainable long-term disease management. The project has produced numerous multimedia materials that have been vitally important for educating soybean growers, regulators, and other industry members in the U.S. and abroad about soybean rust and have diminished their apprehension about the disease.

Support for this project comes from the federal Multistate Research Fund established in 1998 by the Agricultural Research, Extension, and Education Reform Act (an amendment to the Hatch Act of 1888) to encourage and enhance multistate, multidisciplinary research on critical issues that have a national or regional priority.

The award honored outstanding collaboration and commitment of the participating members:

* Arkansas Cooperative Extension
* Auburn University
* Colorado State University
* Cornell University
* Delaware Cooperative Extension
* Iowa Soybean Association
* Iowa State University
* Iowa State University Cooperative Extension
* Kansas State University
* Kentucky Cooperative Extension
* Louisiana State University
* Michigan State University
* Mississippi State University
* North Carolina State University
* North Dakota State University
* The Ohio State University
* Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs
* Purdue University
* South Dakota Cooperative Extension
* South Dakota State University
* Tennessee Cooperative Extension
* Texas AgriLife Research
* United Soybean Board
* University of Arkansas
* University of Florida
* University of Illinois
* University of Kentucky
* University of Maryland
* University of Minnesota
* University of Missouri
* University of Nebraska
* University of Wisconsin
* U.S. Department of Agriculture-Agriculture Research Service
* Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University
* West Virginia Department of Agriculture