The Importance of the Check-off: Arkansas

A Look at Current and Future Soybean Research Across Two States in the South


Shaping the Future of Agriculture: Innovations in Soybean Research

Five University of Arkansas scholars are making significant strides in soybean research to spur innovation in traditional farming practices. The Arkansas Soybean Promotion Board, in conjunction with the University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture, provides fellowships to master’s and doctoral students pursuing agricultural degrees. Eligible candidates’ educational focus must be anchored in soybean production, including animals, plants, soils, pest management, food and feed sciences, or engineering. Each scholar utilizes their unique areas of expertise to advance soybean cultivation, address challenges, advance the future of farming, and foster a more sustainable and efficient agricultural industry.

Tristan Avent

TRISTAN AVENT utilizes John Deere See and Spray Ultimate, a technology using advanced computer vision, artificial intelligence, and high-speed sprayer technology to combat weeds among row crops. His work contributes to the development of soybean cultivars that can withstand changing climates, ensuring stable yields, and securing food production during climate change. By conducting unbiased studies and analyzing the impact on soybean fields, Tristan provides essential data to producers, showcasing the impact of See and Spray in offering an effective solution without hindering crop growth.

Savannah Wells Crafton

SAVANNAH WELLS CRAFTON explores innovative approaches to improve poultry nutrition, poultry production efficiency, and sustainable feed alternatives. She also contributes to meeting the growing demand for poultry in a resource-constrained world. Crafton conducts research trials to establish energy and lysine requirements in broilers. One of her experiments compared soybeans bred for enhanced nutritional content to conventional soybeans, observing improved feed conversion efficiency in birds fed the improved soybeans. Through her research, she aims to redefine precision poultry nutrition and tackle the challenges of nourishing an expanding world.

Carrie Ortel

CARRIE ORTEL aims to provide Arkansas soybean producers with crucial knowledge to maximize both yield and profit by addressing hidden potassium deficiencies. Ortel optimizes soybean production by assessing leaf potassium concentrations and recommending site-specific fertilizer rates. Her findings underscore the importance of proactive sampling and water availability in mitigating deficiencies. Moreover, Ortel develops precise fertilizer recommendations to correct potassium deficiencies effectively. Doing this ensures optimal crop nutrition while considering the cost-effectiveness of applications, aligning farmers’ interests with profitable outcomes. Ortel’s research paves the way for enhanced agricultural productivity and prosperity in Arkansas and beyond.

Noah Reed

NOAH REED investigates the use of fall residuals for Italian ryegrass control before planting soybeans, which offers an alternative to traditional spring burn-down options. Additionally, he studies nozzle coverage, examining different types of nozzles and addressing challenges faced by farmers in the field. This helps optimize herbicide application and enhance weed control efficacy. Lastly, he explores crop rotations between rice and soybeans, particularly evaluating drill row width spacing effects to facilitate easier transitions between the two crops for effective weed control. This research offers a new approach that can potentially reduce herbicide resistance and improve soybean crop yields, thus improving the Arkansas soybean industry.

Cole Woolard

COLE WOOLARD focuses on integrating soybean-based feed formulations, precision feeding techniques, and livestock monitoring technologies to improve feed efficiency, animal welfare, and overall farm profitability. He modifies specific genes in soybean plants to enhance desired traits, increasing the likelihood to accelerate the development of superior soybean varieties with improved agronomic characteristics and nutritional profiles. Woolard’s work furthers the sustainability and productivity of livestock operations associated with soybean farming by optimizing soybean feed composition and monitoring livestock health and performance.

The fellowship program provided by the Arkansas Soybean Promotion Board and the University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture is a catalyst for agricultural innovation and breakthroughs in soybean research. Each fellow reshapes the future of farming by harnessing their unique expertise. Their contributions advance soybean production and utilization and foster a sustainable and efficient agricultural industry. This program is a driving force behind a brighter and more prosperous future for the world of farming. Learn more about the University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture and the Arkansas Soybean Promotion Board’s fellowship program by visiting

This information is provided by the Arkansas Soybean Promotion Board.

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