Growers’ concerns addressed, relationship with University repaired

Local soybean growers said Thursday they will reinstate $1.5 million in funding for University research projects, as well as allocate an additional $1.2 million in grants for next year.

The decision came two months after they revoked funding over research connecting biofuel production to global warming.

February’s dispute centered around a University study that found that increased cultivation of farmland for biofuels would negate benefits provided by lower emissions.

The University administration has been working for the past month to address growers’ concerns, University spokesman Dan Wolter told the Star Tribune.

On March 5, about 30 representatives of the Minnesota Soybean Growers Association met with University officials, including President Bob Bruininks, to reassure farmers of the University’s research standards.

The decision, made by the Minnesota Soybean Research and Promotions Council Wednesday, restores the long relationship between local farmers and the University, Gene Stoel, council chairman, said.

“Farmers had to see whether or not we were spending our research funds in a worthwhile (manner),” he said.