WSMB elects officers, approves 2023 research projects

Categories: WSMBPublished On: February 2, 20232.6 min read

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WISCONSIN DELLS – As part of a full agenda, the Wisconsin Soybean Marketing Board (WSMB) held its annual officer election during its winter board meeting on the eve of the annual Wisconsin Corn/Soy Expo at the Kalahari Resort in Wisconsin Dells.

WSMB President Patrick Mullooly earned reelection by his peers on the farmer-led board that administers the state’s soybean checkoff program. Mullooly farms on his sixth-generation operation in Clinton alongside his wife, Sheri; dad, Mick; and brother, Bill.

“I’m honored to have the confidence of my fellow directors as we look to continue building our staff in the year ahead,” said Mullooly, who will lead WSMB for a third term.

Vice President Andy Bensend and Secretary/Treasurer Jonathan Gibbs were also reelected. Bensend commended Mullooly for helping stay the course as WSMB dealt with the April 2022 death of longtime Executive Director Robert “Bob” Karls.

“I want to thank Pat. It’s been a tough go and required a lot of time and effort,” said Bensend, who farms in Dallas, Wis. “We appreciate his outstanding leadership – it doesn’t go unnoticed.”

WSMB also approved 17 projects for checkoff funding for 2023 to address agronomic and production issues facing the state’s nearly 15,000 soybean growers.

Most of the sponsored projects continue to fund long-term studies. Approved proposals included:

  • Weed detection using UAV imagery
  • Herbicide resistance
  • White mold and phytophthora management
  • Intercropping and double cropping soybeans and wheat
  • Soybean Cyst Nematode testing and education
  • Studying no-till soy growth and yield reductions
  • Continuing Wisconsin’s Soybean Yield Contest, which has been held for more than a decade

Mullooly praised the work of University of Wisconsin Extension Agronomist Rodrigo Werle, whose multi-year research on herbicide resistance helps to address troublesome weed species such as waterhemp and giant ragweed.

“Rodrigo has done a fantastic job, and in my opinion we’re getting a big bang for our buck out of this project,” Mullooly said.

WSMB also voted to sponsor several new projects for fiscal year 2023 on research related to white mold control; improving pest data; developing a crop planting prioritization tool; and more.

Mullooly said the constructive dialogue between the board helps maintain the wise use of checkoff resources.

“We have great conversations because we have growers with different interests who are representing soybean farmers from their section of the state,” Mullooly said. “Sometimes, what’s important to farmers in the northern part of the state isn’t important to farmers in the south, so we have to meet in the middle.”

The organization will continue its biodiesel promotion, along with funding a feasibility study to determine the ideal location for a Wisconsin-based crushing facility.

“We’re hoping to make some headway in the crushing world,” Mullooly said. “It’s a top priority for us, because all of our surrounding states have (a crushing facility).”

Earlier in the board meeting, Bensend presented his colleagues with an award that recognized Karls during the 2022 annual meeting of the Specialty Soya & Grains Alliance. Bensend represented WSMB on SSGA before he stepped down from SSGA last year.

WSMB will gather again in March before holding another election in September.