Project Details:

The SCN Coalition: Building on Economic Impact

Parent Project: Second SCN Coalition: Resistance Management and Awareness Campaign
Checkoff Organization:North Central Soybean Research Program
Categories:Soybean diseases
Organization Project Code:
Project Year:2022
Lead Principal Investigator:Samuel Markell (North Dakota State University)
Co-Principal Investigators:
Kaitlyn Bissonnette (Iowa State University)
Gregory Tylka (Iowa State University)
Rodrigo Borba Onofre (Kansas State University)
Douglas Jardine (Kansas State University)
Tim C. Todd (Kansas State University)
George Bird (Michigan State University)
Marisol Quintanilla (Michigan State University)
Jason Bond (Mississippi State University Delta Research and Extension Center)
Albert Tenuta (Ontario Ministry of Agriculture-Food & Rural)
Darcy Telenko (Purdue University)
Emmanuel Byamukama (South Dakota State University)
Jason Bond (Southern Illinois University at Carbondale)
Anne Dorrance (The Ohio State University)
Nathan Schroeder (University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign)
Carl Bradley (University of Kentucky)
Seth Naeve (University of Minnesota)
Melissa Mitchum (University of Missouri)
Loren Giesler (University of Nebraska)
Shawn Conley (University of Wisconsin)
Paul Esker (University of Wisconsin)
Ann MacGuidwin (University of Wisconsin)
Damon Smith (University of Wisconsin)
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Keywords: SCN, Awareness, Active Management, Yield Loss, Peking, PI88788, Seed Treatment, Rotation

Contributing Organizations

Funding Institutions

Information and Results

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Project Summary

In this proposal, The SCN Coalition is requesting continued foundational support for program management, partner relations and recruitment and ongoing communications.

First, The SCN Coalition will focus our communications efforts on explaining research developments to answer the ‘why’ questions also to expand the voice of growers in The SCN Coalition (such as Let’s Talk Todes’ videos. In 2021/2022, complementary and non-codependent proposals (USB, private partners) may provide support for numerous additional and leveraged activities.

Second, The SCN Coalition continues its expansion to include other economically important nematodes of soybeans (such as root-knot nematode) and diseases impacted by SCN (such as Sudden Death Syndrome). This continued expansion is consistent with the National Soybean Nematode Strategic Plan 2018-2022 and addresses economically important needs of soybean growers.

Project Objectives

1. SCN Coalition Partner Relations and Recruitment:
Maintaining relationships with the eight current industry partners (BASF, Bayer, Corteva,
Growmark, Nufarm, Syngenta, Valent, Winfield United) and continued recruiting of new partners are critical for both consistent messaging and sustaining financial support. Given challenges in 2020, we anticipate that 2021/2022 will be a critical year for securing lasting partnerships with current partners and continuing to recruit new partners.

2. SCN Coalition Management:
The SCN Coalition membership will participate in and facilitate core team and committee meetings and calls; update Coalition training presentations and other educational materials as research progresses; develop new educational materials as needed (i.e., PI mailings, banners and signage, online tracking tools, etc.) for The SCN Coalition land-grant university members; to continue consensus-building efforts and support for the feedback loop among all members of The SCN Coalition as it grows and evolves in 2022. These activities will involve partners from checkoff organizations, industry and academic institutions.

3. SCN Coalition Ongoing Communications:
The Coalition has established a strong presence in agricultural trade media and on social media. We will ensure that NCSRP maintains control of The SCN Coalition presence and messaging. Communications efforts include arranging print, radio and TV interviews for Coalition leaders in ag media outlets; cooperating with ag media outlets to provide custom SCN information and resources as requested; coordinating with Coalition leaders and other researchers for news releases, articles, position papers, our monthly e-newsletter and 3x weekly social media efforts; and outreach to existing and new potential media partners. Additionally, funds will be used to assure the website is being optimized effectively.

Project Deliverables

Activities 1 and 2. SCN Partners Relations/Recruitment and SCN Coalition Management.
Success of these actions will be measured by 1) conceptual buy-in from industry partners, 2) dissemination of information to clientele and 3) financial commitments received (in-kind or direct). The timeline is continuous and visits are likely to occur throughout the fiscal year. We anticipate initial visits will be virtual, followed up by live meetings with all partners.

Activity 3. SCN Coalition Ongoing Communications. Success will be measured by;
media impressions: share of SCN conversations, website traffic and social media impressions/retweets/etc. Seven to 10 press releases will be strategically timed around complementary leveraged events to multiply the message and magnify the impact. Leveraged support will likely increase all communications numbers, impacts and benefits to growers.

Additional long-term objectives and KPI’s. We set the new target of a significant increase in all questions about active management of SCN (95% confidence) measured by market research planned for 2025, we also plan to lead effort to update the National Soybean Nematode Strategic Plan: (2023-2027), and ultimately, to increase understanding and active management of additional soybean nematodes and diseases impacted by soybean nematodes among growers.

Progress of Work

Updated April 1, 2022:

The SCN Coalition is a Public-Private Partnership (PPP) of soybean checkoff, private companies and universities. The mission of The SCN Coalition is to conduct an SCN Resistance Management and Awareness Campaign to educate growers and industry on the reality of soybean cyst nematode (SCN) resistance development, to slow the development of highly aggressive SCN populations, and to minimize increasing levels of yield loss. The North Central Soybean Research Program (NCSRP) provides foundational funding that has led to one of the largest and most effective PPPs ever developed to manage an agricultural pest. NCSRP’s funds allow for the communications and management of partner relations that makes The SCN Coalition work. Below, we present updates on The SCN Coalition activities.

Market research conducted in the last fiscal year demonstrated high SCN Coalition message recall among growers, increased active SCN management by growers, and high economic return on The SCN Coalition investments. Specifically, message recall of “rotation to non-host crop” was 76%, “rotate resistant varieties” was 65%, “consider a nematode-protectant seed treatment” was 65% and “actively manage SCN” was 55%. A statistical increase (5% or greater) from 2015 to 2020 was found in some active SCN management strategies, including a 10% increase in growers rotating sources of resistance, an 18% increase in growers using nematicide protectant seed treatments, a 10% increase in growers using Peking resistance in soybean rotation, a 6% increase in growers rotating non-host crops, and a 7% increase in growers planting SCN-resistant varieties. Surveyed growers report capturing an additional 5.1 bushels per acre by actively managing SCN, adding $48.45 per acre to their bottom line based on the average price of soybeans of $9.50 during that time.

Mission and Activities in FY2022

To accomplish our mission, we aim to increase active management of SCN, and encourage growers to talk to their advisors about the four primary management actions (testing, rotation, resistance, seed treatments) so they can develop a strategy that best fits their farm. We have leveraged NCSRP funding from multiple sources; all funding is complementary and not codependent. Funding from the NCSRP supports the communication and partner relations of The SCN Coalition (it is central to everything The SCN Coalition does). Leveraged funding received from corporate private partners supports primarily national activities of The SCN Coalition. In FY2022, this included the expansion of the video series: “Let’s Talk Todes.” In addition, in-kind funding from private corporate partners (media, advertising, etc.) multiplies The SCN Coalition messages. In FY2022, leveraged funding from the United Soybean Board (USB) supported state-specific Extension activities in support of The SCN Coalition (‘SCN Coalition: Building on Economic Impact – led by Dr. Carl Bradley at the University of Kentucky).

Outputs and Outcomes FY2022

Media and communication activities have continued steadily through the first half of this cycle. Between the launch of The SCN Coalition in February 2018 and March 15, 2022, The SCN Coalition has been mentioned in 753 online articles, resulting in 30.3 million potential impressions in ag media; this represents 16.2% of the total share of online discussion on SCN.

New projects have been pitched to private partners of The SCN Coalition. Specifically, this includes ‘Talking Todes Together.’ This is an expansion on the ‘Let’s Talk Todes’ program that will highlight growers, company scientists and university scientists together. To date, two private partners have committed money to support the project and others are being approached. In addition, another partner has committed financial support for the program ‘Checking roots for SCN.’ This is a one-month long campaign that includes social media, press releases and media outreach.

Awards in FY2022

The SCN Coalition won a Best of NAMA (National Agri-Marketing Association) top award for ‘Public Relations – directed to farmers, growers, ranchers or others serving agribusiness.’ The region 3 winner competes for the national title in April 2022. NAMA is the largest agri-marketing association in the U.S.

The SCN Coalition is a finalist for the ‘Silver Anvil,’ the most prestigious award given by the Public Relations Society of America. Being a finalist is considered to be among the highest honors in the discipline. The awards ceremony is May 19, 2022. Winning the award would analogous to the ‘Oscars’ of acting or Nobel Prize of sciences (to be clear, the award winner has not been announced). According to the finalist letter, “Congratulations – your entry in the Issues Management category has been shortlisted in the 2022 Anvil competition! As you know, the program recognizes and honors the very best communications programs planned and executed each year. Of the hundreds of entries submitted, only those that the Anvil Judges deemed to have exceeded an extremely high threshold for quality have made it through to the 2022 Anvil Awards Shortlist. This demonstrates the high standards applied in the Anvil Awards evaluation process.”

Planning beyond FY2022

To date, two pre-proposals have been submitted to the United Soybean Board. USB has not yet notified PI’s on the status of the preproposals. The first pre-proposal titled ‘The Toad Load Tool and Tode Load Tour’ focuses on the economic case for active SCN management. The second pre-proposal titled ‘An on-farm research approach for improved management of soybean cyst nematode and root-knot nematode and their interactions with other soybean pathogens’ focuses on on-farm management of soybean nematodes.
In addition to the USB pre-proposals and private partners projects (detailed earlier), The SCN Coalition is organizing the ‘National Soybean Nematode Conference’ (December 14-16, Savannah, GA).

View uploaded report Word file

Final Project Results

Benefit to Soybean Farmers

The soybean cyst nematode (SCN) remains the most important economically limiting threat to soybean growers in the North Central United States, and yield losses due to SCN are increasing and will continue to increase in the near future. In recent years, an increase in aggressive SCN populations that can feed and reproduce on resistant varieties has been widely documented throughout the North Central U.S. (Faghihi et al. 2010, Howland et al. 2018, Niblack et al. 2003, Niblack et al. 2008). With only one readily available commercial source of resistance to SCN (PI 88788) this trend will continue, and will expose growers to levels of yield loss from SCN that have not occurred since the 1980’s. Evidence from 15 years of SCN-resistant variety evaluations demonstrates that a 23% yield reduction (14.1 bu/ac) is expected when PI 88788 has lost effectiveness (McCarville et al. 2017).

In the past five years, a public-private partnership called “The SCN Coalition” was formed, with the objective to help growers reduce their risk to the yield threat posed by the breakdown of SCN resistance by actively managing SCN. Partners include eight agrochemical companies, over two dozen universities and state, regional and national checkoff organizations. The SCN Coalition unified the SCN active management messaging among the partners and multiplied it with their media presence to deliver it to growers. As examples, since its launch, the Coalition has generated 21.4 million potential impressions among North America’s soybean growers and agronomists, and videos produced in the ‘Let’s Talk Todes’ program generated over 900,000 views during a six-week promotion the fall of 2020.

To measure the impacts of The SCN Coalition, two national surveys of grower practices and grower awareness were conducted in 2015 and 2020 (95% confidence level). Results suggest that The SCN Coalition may be one of (if not the) most impactful public-private partnership and Extension awareness campaigns in U.S. agriculture. Between 2015 and 2020, an increase of 6% to 18% more U.S. soybean growers reported utilizing tools to actively manage SCN (Page 4). Using conservative estimates, such a significant change in active management can result in yield increases that translate into $100M+ gains annually for U.S. soybean growers.

Despite great improvements in understanding and management, data suggests that large numbers of growers (in most cases the majority) can still improve their yield by incorporating active SCN management tools. Additionally, soybean growers face other yield-limiting threats (such as Sudden Death Syndrome) and the public-private partnership is positioned to deliver information to help them manage diseases and improve their yield. We believe it is now time to evolve The SCN Coalition beyond SCN and fully engage the power of partnerships to help growers maximize soybean yields. We present to you the proposal, The SCN Coalition: Building on Economic Impact

Performance Metrics

Project Years