Oakley Producer Kurt Maurath Discusses Soybeans

(Jamie) Welcome to Farm Factor! First Kyle Bauer and Kurt Maurath talk about growing soybeans in western Kansas, how the Commission funds research and how the Checkoff works.
(Kyle Bauer) Hi, this is Kyle Bauer from Manhattan. I have the opportunity to visit with Kurt Maurath, and he is the Chairman of the Kansas Soybean Commission. Let’s start Kurt talking about your farm, where you’re from and your time on the commission. (Kurt Maurath) I live in Oakley, Kansas, which is in the northwest corner of Kansas. Family farm, we grow irrigated corn, wheat, soybeans, sunflowers, milo some years, and have a cow-calf operation. (Kyle) Now, soybeans aren’t a large crop in northwest Kansas but yet you’ve been on the commission for a long time. (Kurt) Yes, I’ve served for 12 years and I do represent the whole western third of Kansas because the number of our beans are still less than one district in the eastern side of Kansas. (Kyle) As we look at soybeans in the western part of the state, the predominant crop is corn. Will there come a time that soybeans will continue to increase acres in that part of the state? (Kurt) Well, we hope so. With the water declining in the aquifer out there, people are looking for soybeans to be an alternative crop to the corn to try to conserve water. Now, beans aren’t necessarily low water use but they are less use than corn is. (Kyle) Now, as one big thing that Commission does though, is they fund research. Let’s just talk about the different kinds of research that you do. (Kurt) We do a lot of state research through the universities; we also do international research. Right now, we have projects going in Mexico for feeding chickens or projects in India where we are feeding fish. India and Thailand, those areas are just such a huge population and they are protein deficit that we see that as a huge market potential. They raise a lot of poultry and they use the soybean meal in their cultural production. Again, it’s just a huge market for us. (Kyle) Let’s talk about the checkoff and how those dollars are collected from farmers. (Kurt) Well, the checkoff is collected from every bushel of soybeans; that is for every dollar that is sold in soybeans, the checkoff receives a half of 1% of those dollars. Then that money is in split between let’s say, our organization and the National United Soybean Board. That’s where our money comes from, that’s what we use to manage. (Kyle) But if that money that goes to the national, then does the state supplement that sum on some projects, if you will, joint projects? (Kurt) Yes, there are joint projects. The fish feeding I talked about, that was a joint project with the United Soybean Board. (Kyle) When do your budgets run? Do they run July 1st to July 1st, or do they run January to January? (Kurt) Yes, July 1st to July 1st. (Kyle) You are into a new year with that budgeting; you look at a lot of different projects each year on trying to decide where that money is best spent? (Kurt) Right, we have meetings here towards the end of the year that the researchers come in, the AG groups coming in, they shoot proposals to us. We usually look at between 40 to 60, 70 proposals and we narrow down to what we feel would benefit the Kansas soybean grower the most. (Kyle) We’re visiting with Kurt Maurath. He is the Chairman of the Kansas Soybean Commission. This is Kyle Bauer reporting. Back to you, Jamie.
(Jamie) Thanks Kyle! Folks come back after these messages for this week’s Kansas Soybean Update.

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