Project Details:

Title:
The SCN Coalition: Economics and Advancing Management

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:2023
Lead Principal Investigator:Samuel Markell (North Dakota State University)
Co-Principal Investigators:
Gregory Tylka (Iowa State University)
Rodrigo Onofre (Kansas State University)
George Bird (Michigan State University)
Marisol Quintanilla (Michigan State University)
Guiping Yan (North Dakota State University)
Alyssa Collins (Pennsylvania State University)
Paul Esker (Pennsylvania State University)
Darcy Telenko (Purdue University)
Febina Mathew (South Dakota State University)
Jason Bond (Southern Illinois University at Carbondale)
Horacio Lopez-Nicora (The Ohio State University)
Nathan Schroeder (University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign)
Seth Naeve (University of Minnesota)
Jefferson Barizon (University of Missouri)
Mandy Bish (University of Missouri)
Dylan Mangel (University of Nebraska)
Tamra Jackson-Ziems (University of Nebraska at Lincoln)
Shawn Conley (University of Wisconsin)
Ann MacGuidwin (University of Wisconsin)
Damon Smith (University of Wisconsin)
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Contributing Organizations

Funding Institutions

Information and Results

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Project Summary

The soybean cyst nematode (SCN) remains the most important, economically limiting threat to soybean growers in the North Central U.S., 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 United States (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 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).

Six years ago, 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. To date, partners include nine 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. Critically, development and success of The SCN Coalition is directly linked to support from the NCSRP. The NSCRP resources have been leveraged extensively to secure direct financial support from the United Soybean Board (USB) and private corporate partners that support complementary SCN Coalition activities and additional highly significant in-kind support from the private sector.

Since its launch, the Coalition has generated 31 million potential impressions through agricultural media and videos produced in the ‘Let’s Talk Todes’ program generated over 2M views. To measure the impacts of The SCN Coalition, the results of two national surveys of grower practices and grower awareness conducted in 2015 and 2020 were compared (95% confidence level). An increase of 6% to 18% more U.S. soybean growers reported utilizing tools to actively manage SCN. Using conservative estimates, the economics of the increase in active management is estimated at >$100M gains annually for U.S. soybean growers.

Despite great improvements in understanding and management, data suggests large numbers of growers (in most cases the majority) can still improve their yield by incorporating active SCN management tools. Additionally, the private and public sectors are making significant advancements in research, and we believe those advances need to be visible to growers in order to quickly adopt and economically benefit from their usage as they become available. In this proposal, we seek to build on the success of The SCN Coalition and focus on the economics of SCN and research advances in SCN management.

Project Objectives

1. SCN Coalition Partner Relations and Recruitment.
2. SCN Coalition Management.
3. SCN Coalition Ongoing Communications.

Project Deliverables

For objective 1. Maintaining relationships with the nine current industry partners (BASF, Bayer, Corteva,
Growmark, Nufarm, Syngenta, UPL, Valent, Winfield United) and continued recruiting of new partners are critical for consistent and coordinated messaging, and sustaining financial support.
For objective 2. Funds will be used to support SCN Coalition leadership to participate in and facilitate core team and committee meetings and calls; to update Coalition training presentations and other educational materials as research progresses; to develop new educational materials as needed (i.e., PI mailings, banners and signage, online tracking tools, etc.) for SCN Coalition land-grant university members; and to continue consensus-building efforts and support for the feedback loop among all members of The SCN Coalition as it grows and evolves in 2023. These activities will include partners from checkoff organizations, industry and academic institutions.
For objective 3. Ongoing 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 to develop topics for news releases, articles, position papers, our monthly e-newsletter and three-times-weekly social media efforts; and outreach to existing and new potential media partners. Funds will also be used to create the “What’s your number” campaign targeting CCAs, agronomists and retailers, as well as soybean growers. Elements of this campaign include a press release and media outreach, working with public-private SCN soil sampling labs to compile data, reporting soil sample data weekly via a social media campaign, and providing public-private partners with promotional materials. Additionally, funds will be used to assure the website is being optimized effectively.

Progress of Work

Updated April 1, 2023:
Progress Report: Second SCN Coalition: Building on Economic Impact
Date: April 1, 2023
Prepared by: Sam Markell, NDSU


Background

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 FY2021 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. Considering USDA’s projected 2022-23 average farm price for soybeans of $14.30, the current economic impact to growers is much greater at nearly $73 per acre.

Mission and Activities in FY2023

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 “SCN Root Check” campaign sponsored by Valent, “Talking Todes Together with BASF” and media relations at the Farm Progress Show to showcase BASF’s SCN Action Month program. In addition, in-kind funding from private corporate partners (media, advertising, etc.) multiplies The SCN Coalition messages. In FY2023, leveraged funding from the United Soybean Board (USB) is supporting the development of the SCN Profit Checker tool, which is based on more than 20 years of research led by Dr. Greg Tylka at Iowa State University. The tool, which will help farmers work alongside their advisors to access SCN risk in their fields and devise a plan for active SCN management, will launch this fall.

In March, The SCN Coalition held hour-long virtual meetings with its private partners to provide updates on its results and activities. This included demonstrating the SCN Profit Checker tool, which will be available for partners to incorporate into their marketing and educating to advance active SCN management. Private partners have been approached for direct and in-direct funding support for specific campaigns (such as the creation and campaign of ‘National Nematode Day’) and non-specific activities (ideas have included additional Talking Todes Together, SCN Action Month, Company specific activities surrounding the new SCN Profit Checker Tool). We anticipate during April, partners will respond with their financial pledges and plans.

Outputs and Outcomes FY2023

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 February 28, 2023, The SCN Coalition has been mentioned in 856 online articles, resulting in 34.8 million potential impressions, which represents 12.34% of the total share of online discussion of SCN. Broadcast outreach brings total potential impressions to nearly 80 million. During FY2023, four news releases have been distributed to ag media, and media outlets have recently been reporting on news/data shared at the National Soybean Nematode Conference (NSNC) held in December 2022. The SCN Coalition organized the conference, which was held Dec. 14-16, 2022, in Savannah, Georgia.
The SCN Coalition has seen an increase in new visitors to TheSCNCoalition.com, with 31,219 total new users in FY22 and 22,709 new users to date in FY23 (October 2022 – February 2023).

The SCN Coalition has garnered more than 8 million potential impressions on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn. We continue to grow these channels:
• Twitter: 214 new followers in FY22; 61 new followers to date in FY23.
• Facebook: 368 new followers in FY22; 229 new followers to date in FY23.
• LinkedIn: 60 new followers in FY22; 39 new followers to date in FY23.

Awards

In February, The SCN Coalition was awarded the Region 3 Best of NAMA (National Agri-Marketing Association) 1st place award for ‘Unique Sponsored Campaign - SCN Root Check Campaign’ as well as “Best of Show” for agricultural audiences in public relations. The entry is now being considered for a national title at the awards ceremony scheduled for April 26, 2023. NAMA is the largest agri-marketing association in the U.S.

The SCN Coalition’s public relations campaign to move more soybean farmers to actively manage the soybean cyst nematode (SCN) was the recipient of the Public Relations Society of America’s (PRSA) prestigious Silver Anvil Award in the “Issues Management” category, during an awards ceremony held May 19, 2022. Being a finalist is considered to be among the highest honors in the discipline. Winning the award analogous to the ‘Oscars’ of acting or ‘Nobel Prize’ of sciences. The Silver Anvil Awards program recognizes and honors the very best communications programs planned and executed each year from around the country.

Planning beyond FY2023

To date, two complementary and non-codependent proposals (FY2024) have been submitted to the United Soybean Board. USB has not yet notified PI’s of the status. The first proposal, titled ‘SCN Profit Checker Campaign,’ would provide ongoing digital support for the tool and expand the communications and marketing of the tool. The second proposal, titled ‘Innovative Learning Tools to Actively Manage SCN and Other Parasitic Nematodes Today,’ focuses on developing educational materials that reflect current knowledge and recommendations on economically important soybean nematodes, including root-knot (RKN), reniform, lesion, and soybean cyst nematodes (SCN). This continues the evolution of the SCN Coalition to include other nematodes and nematode-interacting soybean pathogens of soybean.

View uploaded report Word file

Final Project Results

Updated October 31, 2023:
Final Report: The SCN Coalition: Economics and Advancing Management

Date: October 31, 2023

Prepared by: Sam Markell, NDSU

Background
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.

Measurable impact prior to FY2023. Market research was conducted in 2015 and 2020 to assess the impact of The SCN Coalition. Market research demonstrated that SCN Coalition message recall was over 50% on key messaging targeted growers, statistically significant increases in active SCN management were reported by growers, and a very high economic return on The SCN Coalition investments was demonstrated. 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 reported in some active SCN management tools/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 FY2023
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 FY2023, this included, 1) the creation of “National Nematode Day” supported from private partner contributions leveraged from checkoff support, 2) the development and launch of the SCN Profit Checker tool, supported by USB, 3) Organization and Coordination of the “2022 National Soybean Nematode Conference” which had leveraged support from private partners, QSSB, and others, and 4) the continued management and communications of The SCN Coalition.

Summary of Highlights in FY2023
Development and launch of the new SCN Profit Checker tool, which is the tool that helps a grower understand the economic impact of SCN on their specific farm, occurred throughout FY2023. We anticipate SCN sample increases in member states as a result of the tool and four videos promoting SCN Profit Checker. Establishment of National Nematode Day (October 2, 2023), which included a four-week communication effort leading up to the event, was fully supported by private sector partners. The SCN Coalition organized (in partnership with the American Phytopathological Society) the 2022 National Soybean Nematode Conference in Savannah, GA, December 14-16, 2022. In FY2023, news releases generating 3.8 million potential online impressions in ag media consisting of 4.9% of the share of SCN discussion, 1,567,469 impressions in Twitter, 2,877,584 impressions in Facebook, and 459,540 impressions in LinkedIn. In addition, The SCN Coalition has seen an increase in new visitors to TheSCNCoalition.com, with 55,260 total new users in FY23. In FY 2023, The SCN Coalition’s SCN Root Check Sponsored by Valent USA (FY2022 output) won a first-place award in the Unique Sponsorship Campaign category at the Regional NAMA awards ceremony, and in April, was the recipient of the Merit award (second place) at the National Award ceremony.

FY2023 Activities, Results and Impacts

National Nematode Day
The SCN Coalition and sponsors Bayer, BASF, Nufarm and Syngenta, gave their target audience a reason to pay attention and dedicate a day directed toward soybean cyst nematode (SCN) by declaring October 2, 2023, National Nematode Day (NND). The SCN Coalition used NND to spread awareness about SCN across digital, social and print channels. A giveaway driving users to the NND webpage paired with innovative social media posts and digital ads helped spread awareness and drive engagement. NND was made possible by support leveraged from this NCSRP project, this included direct support from the four private corporate partners ($90,000) plus additional leveraged in-kind (media) support.

Design and Execution
Content calendar
o Developed a comprehensive social media calendar educating the audience on SCN and their impact on soybean production.
o Incorporated existing resources created by The SCN Coalition, such as videos and active SCN management guides, into the social media calendar.
o Invested in social media promotion across Facebook, LinkedIn and X (formerly Twitter). “Are you smarter than a nematode?” Quizzes and Sweepstakes
o Deployed a new quiz on nematodes each of the four weeks leading up to NND, with a weekly $500 sweepstakes incentivizing participation.
Expanded signups for The SCN Coalition newsletter via post-quiz prompt.
o Unveiled quiz answers via Friday videos featuring experts with The SCN Coalition.
o Promoted the quiz with digital ads and social media.
Each company sponsored a week of digital ads promoting the quiz.
o Encouraged audience to follow @TheSCNCoaltion and use #NematodeDay.
Press release and media outreach
o “Gearing up for National Nematode Day and Weekly $500 Sweepstakes” press release placed on The SCN Coalition’s website and distributed to the media on Aug. 31, 2023. To date, there have been 20 online articles, resulting in 1.2M potential impressions. Winners were announced in an Oct. 2, 2023, release; results will be provided in FY24 reports.
o Trained spokespeople on NND messaging, provided resources for promotion of the day in their university/Extension newsletters, and scheduled media interviews.
Banner Ads
o Used banner ads with clear, persuasive copy to highlight the campaign and prompt click-thru to the campaign webpage and further engagement.
o Targeted the ads to farmers, agronomists and agriculture industry professionals using audiences tailored for each platform.
National Nematode Day Webpage
o Created an SEO-optimized webpage where the target audience could take the quizzes and watch answer videos.
o Provided comprehensive information about SCN, helping the target audience understand the threat to yields and profits.

Results
Are You Smarter Than a Nematode Sweepstakes Draws 1,000+ Entries
o The four weeks leading up to NND featured quizzes about SCN and other parasitic nematodes like Southern root-knot nematode. Participants had a chance to win a weekly $500 sweepstakes and were prompted to sign up for The SCN Coalition’s newsletter.
1,082 sweepstakes entries.
200 e-newsletter opt-ins.
Digital Ads and Videos Reach Nearly 1 Million
o Each company involved with the campaign sponsored a week of digital ads promoting the quiz. These reached nearly 470K soybean farmers, agronomists and crop consultants.
o Videos unveiling answers to the quizzes reached nearly 500K; they were shared on social media, the NND webpage and YouTube.
YouTube: 32 second average view duration; 42.4% video completion rate.
Kickoff video was the most viewed ad content, with 69.4K impressions.
Social Media Generates 2.1 Million Impressions
o Social media efforts across Facebook, X and LinkedIn resulted in nearly 15.4K link clicks.
Facebook: 1.3 million impressions, 17,500 engagements and 11,100 link clicks.
LinkedIn: 250,000 impressions, 4,000 engagements and 3,900 link clicks.
X: 600,000 impressions, 3,300 engagements and 339 link clicks.
Earned Media Generates 1.43 million impressions
o A variety of ag media ran the press releases, including American Ag Network, Farm Progress and Successful Farming. A radio interview featuring a Coalition expert was conducted by Ohio Ag Net.
National Nematode Day Webpage Dominates Web Traffic
o 14.4K page views from Sept. 1 to Oct. 2, representing 71% of total traffic to the site
96% of all users were new to the SCN website.

SCN Profit Checker
The SCN Profit Checker Tool was conceived approximately two year ago and direct support from USB became active in FY2023 for its development. In December 2022, an advisory council of select growers and industry representatives was formed to provide input on user experience of the Beta version of the tool. After tool refinement was captured, a scientific manuscript detailing the tool was submitted to the American Phytopathological Society’s journal Plant Health Progress. This journal specifically is for “practitioners” — namely crop advisers and other agronomists who advise growers. A series of in-person and virtual meetings with university research and extension faculty, private corporate partners and stakeholders were held to inform them of the tool and consult on communication plans.

In 2023, The SCN Coalition and partners developed the first interactive calculator for estimating the economics of SCN management on an individual field basis. The SCN Coalition private industry partners validated and demonstrated SCN Profit Checker to growers and the industry that supports them. As a result, we expect the growers’ investment will deliver them (and other soybean stakeholders): 1) an increased understanding of the economic threat presented by SCN, 2) a field-specific tool that provides guidance on active SCN management, and 3) a reduction in losses from the most yield-limiting pathogen of soybeans in the U.S. A press release announcing the debut of the SCN Profit Checker, New Tool from The SCN Coalition Reveals the Pest’s Financial Toll, was distributed Sept. 11, 2023. Social media posts, digital and Google ads, an infographic, and promo video were developed to promote the tool.

National Soybean Nematode Conference
The SCN Coalition partnered with the American Phytopathological Society to organize the 2022 National Soybean Nematode Conference in Savannah, GA, December 14-16, 2022. SCN Coalition members made up the organizing committee, and the partnership of the SCN Coalition was critical for the success of the meeting. Total financial support for the conference exceeded $100,000, or which the majority was generated by SCN Coalition partners.

The meeting theme was “Advancing Nematode Management for the Future,” and highlighted the “value and impact of research, the power of public-private partnerships, and the importance of fostering the next generation of young professionals to meet the continued challenges facing soybean growers in the fight against nematodes.” The conference featured two invited plenary and five keynotes presentations, three agricultural-media led panel discussions, and dozens of additional speakers and poster presentations. Additionally, formal feedback regarding the National Nematode Strategic Plan: 2018-2022 was collected (and later given to USB). For more information on the NSNC and abstracts presented at the conference, please visit:
https://www.apsnet.org/meetings/mtngwshops/SCN/2022Conference/Pages/default.aspx and https://apsjournals.apsnet.org/doi/pdf/10.1094/PHYTO-113-1-S1.1

Participants were asked to evaluate the conference on a 1-5 scale where: 1=much below average, 2=below average, 3=average, 4=above average, and 5=much above average. Results to the three-part question “Compared to other meetings you have recently attended, please rate the 2022 NSNC for the following”:
• Program Content: Mean = 4.47, N=70
• Location: Mean = 4.17, N=69
• Visibility of sponsors and networking and interacting opportunities with sponsors: Mean = 4.29, N=69

Partnership
The Public-Private Partnership continues to be the greatest source of strength for The SCN Coalition. Nine agrochemical companies, two dozen universities, and state, regional and national soybean checkoff organizations make up the core of the PPP. Additional partners like ag media, QSSB and others also make great contributions and contribute to the previous success and future activities of the SCN Coalition. In aggregate, the estimated direct funding of The SCN Coalition to date is estimated at nearly $6M and the in-direct support estimated to be over $9M.

Media Metrics
A combination of traditional and social media dramatically increased the reach of The SCN Coalition in FY2023. This includes, but is not limited to:
• News releases:
Cumulatively, the Talking Todes Together Series garnered 13 articles and 406,578 potential media impressions:
• SCN Management Key to Breaking Yield Plateaus on Ory Farm (Distributed Nov. 14, 2022)
• SCN Expert Answers Farmer’s Questions About Costly Pathogen (Distributed Nov. 28, 2022)
• NSNC releases cumulatively garnered 15 articles, and 507,516 potential media impressions:
• Join Us for the National Soybean Nematode Conference (Distributed April 11, 2022)
• National Soybean Nematode Conference a Watershed Moment in the Fight Against Parasitic Nematodes (Distributed Oct. 11, 2022)
• Solutions for Actively Managing Soybean Cyst Nematode Go Beyond Genetics (SCN Tools NSNC) (Distributed Feb. 21, 2023)
• Lessons Learned from Decades of Overuse of a Single Source of SCN Resistance (SCN Protecting Peking) (Distributed May 22, 2023; 9 online articles, 300,328 potential impressions)
• New Map Provides Clues to Soybean Threat Southern Root-Knot Nematode (Distributed July 31, 2023; 12 online articles, 273,420 potential impressions)
• Gearing up for National Nematode Day and Weekly $500 Sweepstakes (Distributed Aug. 31, 2023; 20 online articles, 1,220,170 potential impressions)
• New Tool from The SCN Coalition Reveals the Pest’s Financial Toll (Distributed Sept. 11, 2023; 13 online articles, 1,000,733 potential impressions)
Media interviews were conducted with SCN Coalition leaders following distribution of press releases.
• Greg Tylka
o 12/8/22: Iowa Soybean Association – SCN, nematode awareness, https://www.iasoybeans.com/newsroom/video/state-of-soy-this-pest-is-in-70-of-soybean-fields
o 3/7/23: Mike Pearson, American Ag Network/AOA – 2023 SCN outlook, https://adamsonag.podbean.com/e/aoa-tuesday-3-7-23/
o 9/19/23: NAFB, SCN Profit Checker, Audio for download provided to NAFB Broadcasters (National distribution)
o 9/25/23: Jesse Allen, American Ag Network/AOA, SCN Profit Checker
o 9/25/23: DeLoss Jahnke, RFD-Illinois Radio Network, SCN Profit Checker
o 9/28/23: Dustin Hoffmann and Andy Petersen, Iowa Agribusiness Radio Network, SCN Profit Checker, https://iowaagribusinessradionetwork.com/scn-coalition-launches-new-profit-checker-tool/
o 9/28/23: Davis Michaelsen, AgriTalk, SCN Profit Checker
o 9/28/23: Agriculture of America, SCN Profit Checker, https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/aoa-thursday-9-28-2023/id1356247010?i=1000629537088
o 9/29/23: Mark Dorenkamp, Brownfield Ag News Network, SCN Profit Checker
• Sam Markell
o 9/1/23: Emily Beal, AgWeek TV, #broadleaf, #IPM, #disease
o 9/5/23: Sarah Heinrich, KFGO, #broadleaf, #IPM, #disease
o 9/5/23: Jesse Allen, American Ag Network, SCN. #broadleaf, #IPM, #disease
o 9/7/23: Whitney, RR Farm Radio Network, SCN #broadleaf, #IPM, #disease
o 9/7/23: FarmTalk 890, Live at Peterson Farm Seeds, #broadleaf, #IPM, #disease
o 9/8/23: Jesse Rostvedt, AgWeek TV, iHeart Media, #broadleaf, #IPM, #disease
o 9/11/23: Eric, FarmTalk 890, #broadleaf, #IPM, #disease
o 10/4/22: Mike Pearson, American Ag Network/AOA, SCN Action Month, https://adamsonag.podbean.com/e/aoa-october-4th-2022/
o 10/7/22: George Bower, Spencer Radio Group, SCN Action Month
o 10/10/22: Chip Flory, Farm Journal/AgriTalk, SCN Action Month, https://omny.fm/shows/agritalk/agritalk-10-10-22-dylan-mangel
• Mike McCarville, BASF
o 6/8/23: Rhonda Brooks, Farm Journal, Lessons Learned from Decades of Overuse of a Single Source of SCN
• Travis Faske
o 7/28/23: Pamela Smith, DTN/Progressive Farmer, Southern Root-knot Nematode (SRK map NR)
o 8/2/23: Meghan Grebner, Brownfield Ag News Network, Southern Root-knot Nematode (SRK map NR)
• Bruce Battles, Syngenta
o 6/27/23: Rhonda Brooks, Farm Journal, Overuse of a Single Source of SCN Resistance
• Troy Bauer
o 10/5/22: Jesse Allen, American Ag Network/AOA, SCN Action Month

The SCN Coalition Website and Social Metrics
The SCN Coalition has seen an increase in new visitors to TheSCNCoalition.com, with 55,260 total new users in FY23 (October 2022 – September 2023). Total website users October 1, 2018 – September 30, 2023, is 114,207. Key highlights include:
• The SCN Coalition has garnered more than 12.2 million potential impressions on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn. We continue to grow these channels:
o Twitter: 1,567,469 impressions in FY23; 237 new followers in FY23.
o Facebook: 2,877,584 impressions in FY23; 390 new followers in FY23.
o LinkedIn: 459,540 impressions in FY23; 126 new followers in FY23.
Google Ads
• 15,673 impressions with a 1.49% average click-through rate

Awards in FY2023.
In January 2023, The SCN Coalition’s SCN Root Check Sponsored by Valent USA won a first place award in the Unique Sponsorship Campaign category at the Regional NAMA awards ceremony, and in April, was the recipient of the Merit (second place) award at the National Award ceremony.

Acknowledgements
The SCN Coalition is a true public-private partnership that could not have been established had it not been for the financial support and foresight of the NCSRP. Their heavily leveraged investment has resulted in outputs far greater than any one partner could have produced. We thank the NCSRP and the QSSB’s that support the NCSRP.

View uploaded report Word file

Final Report: The SCN Coalition: Economics and Advancing Management

Date: October 31, 2023

Prepared by: Sam Markell, NDSU

Background
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.

Measurable impact prior to FY2023. Market research was conducted in 2015 and 2020 to assess the impact of The SCN Coalition. Market research demonstrated that SCN Coalition message recall was over 50% on key messaging targeted growers, statistically significant increases in active SCN management were reported by growers, and a very high economic return on The SCN Coalition investments was demonstrated. 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 reported in some active SCN management tools/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 FY2023
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 FY2023, this included, 1) the creation of “National Nematode Day” supported from private partner contributions leveraged from checkoff support, 2) the development and launch of the SCN Profit Checker tool, supported by USB, 3) Organization and Coordination of the “2022 National Soybean Nematode Conference” which had leveraged support from private partners, QSSB, and others, and 4) the continued management and communications of The SCN Coalition.

Summary of Highlights in FY2023
Development and launch of the new SCN Profit Checker tool, which is the tool that helps a grower understand the economic impact of SCN on their specific farm, occurred throughout FY2023. We anticipate SCN sample increases in member states as a result of the tool and four videos promoting SCN Profit Checker. Establishment of National Nematode Day (October 2, 2023), which included a four-week communication effort leading up to the event, was fully supported by private sector partners. The SCN Coalition organized (in partnership with the American Phytopathological Society) the 2022 National Soybean Nematode Conference in Savannah, GA, December 14-16, 2022. In FY2023, news releases generating 3.8 million potential online impressions in ag media consisting of 4.9% of the share of SCN discussion, 1,567,469 impressions in Twitter, 2,877,584 impressions in Facebook, and 459,540 impressions in LinkedIn. In addition, The SCN Coalition has seen an increase in new visitors to TheSCNCoalition.com, with 55,260 total new users in FY23. In FY 2023, The SCN Coalition’s SCN Root Check Sponsored by Valent USA (FY2022 output) won a first-place award in the Unique Sponsorship Campaign category at the Regional NAMA awards ceremony, and in April, was the recipient of the Merit award (second place) at the National Award ceremony.

FY2023 Activities, Results and Impacts

National Nematode Day
The SCN Coalition and sponsors Bayer, BASF, Nufarm and Syngenta, gave their target audience a reason to pay attention and dedicate a day directed toward soybean cyst nematode (SCN) by declaring October 2, 2023, National Nematode Day (NND). The SCN Coalition used NND to spread awareness about SCN across digital, social and print channels. A giveaway driving users to the NND webpage paired with innovative social media posts and digital ads helped spread awareness and drive engagement. NND was made possible by support leveraged from this NCSRP project, this included direct support from the four private corporate partners ($90,000) plus additional leveraged in-kind (media) support.

Design and Execution
• Content calendar
o Developed a comprehensive social media calendar educating the audience on SCN and their impact on soybean production.
o Incorporated existing resources created by The SCN Coalition, such as videos and active SCN management guides, into the social media calendar.
o Invested in social media promotion across Facebook, LinkedIn and X (formerly Twitter).
• “Are you smarter than a nematode?” Quizzes and Sweepstakes
o Deployed a new quiz on nematodes each of the four weeks leading up to NND, with a weekly $500 sweepstakes incentivizing participation.
Expanded signups for The SCN Coalition newsletter via post-quiz prompt.
o Unveiled quiz answers via Friday videos featuring experts with The SCN Coalition.
o Promoted the quiz with digital ads and social media.
Each company sponsored a week of digital ads promoting the quiz.
o Encouraged audience to follow @TheSCNCoaltion and use #NematodeDay.
• Press release and media outreach
o “Gearing up for National Nematode Day and Weekly $500 Sweepstakes” press release placed on The SCN Coalition’s website and distributed to the media on Aug. 31, 2023. To date, there have been 20 online articles, resulting in 1.2M potential impressions. Winners were announced in an Oct. 2, 2023, release; results will be provided in FY24 reports.
o Trained spokespeople on NND messaging, provided resources for promotion of the day in their university/Extension newsletters, and scheduled media interviews.
• Banner Ads
o Used banner ads with clear, persuasive copy to highlight the campaign and prompt click-thru to the campaign webpage and further engagement.
o Targeted the ads to farmers, agronomists and agriculture industry professionals using audiences tailored for each platform.
• National Nematode Day Webpage
o Created an SEO-optimized webpage where the target audience could take the quizzes and watch answer videos.
o Provided comprehensive information about SCN, helping the target audience understand the threat to yields and profits.

Results
• Are You Smarter Than a Nematode Sweepstakes Draws 1,000+ Entries
o The four weeks leading up to NND featured quizzes about SCN and other parasitic nematodes like Southern root-knot nematode. Participants had a chance to win a weekly $500 sweepstakes and were prompted to sign up for The SCN Coalition’s newsletter.
1,082 sweepstakes entries.
200 e-newsletter opt-ins.
• Digital Ads and Videos Reach Nearly 1 Million
o Each company involved with the campaign sponsored a week of digital ads promoting the quiz. These reached nearly 470K soybean farmers, agronomists and crop consultants.
o Videos unveiling answers to the quizzes reached nearly 500K; they were shared on social media, the NND webpage and YouTube.
YouTube: 32 second average view duration; 42.4% video completion rate.
Kickoff video was the most viewed ad content, with 69.4K impressions.
• Social Media Generates 2.1 Million Impressions
o Social media efforts across Facebook, X and LinkedIn resulted in nearly 15.4K link clicks.
Facebook: 1.3 million impressions, 17,500 engagements and 11,100 link clicks.
LinkedIn: 250,000 impressions, 4,000 engagements and 3,900 link clicks.
X: 600,000 impressions, 3,300 engagements and 339 link clicks.
• Earned Media Generates 1.43 million impressions
o A variety of ag media ran the press releases, including American Ag Network, Farm Progress and Successful Farming. A radio interview featuring a Coalition expert was conducted by Ohio Ag Net.
• National Nematode Day Webpage Dominates Web Traffic
o 14.4K page views from Sept. 1 to Oct. 2, representing 71% of total traffic to the site
*96% of all users were new to the SCN website.

SCN Profit Checker
The SCN Profit Checker Tool was conceived approximately two year ago and direct support from USB became active in FY2023 for its development. In December 2022, an advisory council of select growers and industry representatives was formed to provide input on user experience of the Beta version of the tool. After tool refinement was captured, a scientific manuscript detailing the tool was submitted to the American Phytopathological Society’s journal Plant Health Progress. This journal specifically is for “practitioners” — namely crop advisers and other agronomists who advise growers. A series of in-person and virtual meetings with university research and extension faculty, private corporate partners and stakeholders were held to inform them of the tool and consult on communication plans.

In 2023, The SCN Coalition and partners developed the first interactive calculator for estimating the economics of SCN management on an individual field basis. The SCN Coalition private industry partners validated and demonstrated SCN Profit Checker to growers and the industry that supports them. As a result, we expect the growers’ investment will deliver them (and other soybean stakeholders): 1) an increased understanding of the economic threat presented by SCN, 2) a field-specific tool that provides guidance on active SCN management, and 3) a reduction in losses from the most yield-limiting pathogen of soybeans in the U.S. A press release announcing the debut of the SCN Profit Checker, New Tool from The SCN Coalition Reveals the Pest’s Financial Toll, was distributed Sept. 11, 2023. Social media posts, digital and Google ads, an infographic, and promo video were developed to promote the tool.

National Soybean Nematode Conference
The SCN Coalition partnered with the American Phytopathological Society to organize the 2022 National Soybean Nematode Conference in Savannah, GA, December 14-16, 2022. SCN Coalition members made up the organizing committee, and the partnership of the SCN Coalition was critical for the success of the meeting. Total financial support for the conference exceeded $100,000, or which the majority was generated by SCN Coalition partners.

The meeting theme was “Advancing Nematode Management for the Future,” and highlighted the “value and impact of research, the power of public-private partnerships, and the importance of fostering the next generation of young professionals to meet the continued challenges facing soybean growers in the fight against nematodes.” The conference featured two invited plenary and five keynotes presentations, three agricultural-media led panel discussions, and dozens of additional speakers and poster presentations. Additionally, formal feedback regarding the National Nematode Strategic Plan: 2018-2022 was collected (and later given to USB). For more information on the NSNC and abstracts presented at the conference, please visit:
https://www.apsnet.org/meetings/mtngwshops/SCN/2022Conference/Pages/default.aspx and https://apsjournals.apsnet.org/doi/pdf/10.1094/PHYTO-113-1-S1.1

Participants were asked to evaluate the conference on a 1-5 scale where: 1=much below average, 2=below average, 3=average, 4=above average, and 5=much above average. Results to the three-part question “Compared to other meetings you have recently attended, please rate the 2022 NSNC for the following”:
• Program Content: Mean = 4.47, N=70
• Location: Mean = 4.17, N=69
• Visibility of sponsors and networking and interacting opportunities with sponsors: Mean = 4.29, N=69

Partnership
The Public-Private Partnership continues to be the greatest source of strength for The SCN Coalition. Nine agrochemical companies, two dozen universities, and state, regional and national soybean checkoff organizations make up the core of the PPP. Additional partners like ag media, QSSB and others also make great contributions and contribute to the previous success and future activities of the SCN Coalition. In aggregate, the estimated direct funding of The SCN Coalition to date is estimated at nearly $6M and the in-direct support estimated to be over $9M.

Media Metrics
A combination of traditional and social media dramatically increased the reach of The SCN Coalition in FY2023. This includes, but is not limited to:
• News releases:
Cumulatively, the Talking Todes Together Series garnered 13 articles and 406,578 potential media impressions:
• NSNC releases cumulatively garnered 15 articles, and 507,516 potential media impressions:
• Lessons Learned from Decades of Overuse of a Single Source of SCN Resistance (SCN Protecting Peking) (Distributed May 22, 2023; 9 online articles, 300,328 potential impressions)
• New Map Provides Clues to Soybean Threat Southern Root-Knot Nematode (Distributed July 31, 2023; 12 online articles, 273,420 potential impressions)
• Gearing up for National Nematode Day and Weekly $500 Sweepstakes (Distributed Aug. 31, 2023; 20 online articles, 1,220,170 potential impressions)
• New Tool from The SCN Coalition Reveals the Pest’s Financial Toll (Distributed Sept. 11, 2023; 13 online articles, 1,000,733 potential impressions)

The SCN Coalition Website and Social Metrics
The SCN Coalition has seen an increase in new visitors to TheSCNCoalition.com, with 55,260 total new users in FY23 (October 2022 – September 2023). Total website users October 1, 2018 – September 30, 2023, is 114,207. Key highlights include:
• The SCN Coalition has garnered more than 12.2 million potential impressions on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn. We continue to grow these channels:
o Twitter: 1,567,469 impressions in FY23; 237 new followers in FY23.
o Facebook: 2,877,584 impressions in FY23; 390 new followers in FY23.
o LinkedIn: 459,540 impressions in FY23; 126 new followers in FY23.
Google Ads
• 15,673 impressions with a 1.49% average click-through rate

Awards in FY2023.
In January 2023, The SCN Coalition’s SCN Root Check Sponsored by Valent USA won a first place award in the Unique Sponsorship Campaign category at the Regional NAMA awards ceremony, and in April, was the recipient of the Merit (second place) award at the National Award ceremony.

Acknowledgements
The SCN Coalition is a true public-private partnership that could not have been established had it not been for the financial support and foresight of the NCSRP. Their heavily leveraged investment has resulted in outputs far greater than any one partner could have produced. We thank the NCSRP and the QSSB’s that support the NCSRP.

Benefit to Soybean Farmers

The soybean cyst nematode (SCN) remains the most important, economically limiting threat to soybean growers in the North Central U.S., and yield losses due to SCN are increasing and will continue to increase in the near future. The SCN crisis growers face is two-fold; the effectiveness of the PI88788 resistance is being reduced as the nematode adapts, and, there is relatively low grower awareness of the situation. Over the last 6 years, The SCN Coalition, a Public-Private Partnership, has moved the needle on active management of SCN, saving growers millions of dollars in economic loss. Specifically, the impacts of The SCN Coalition were determined using two national surveys of grower practices and grower awareness in 2015 and 2020 (95% confidence level). An increase of 6% to 18% more U.S. soybean growers reported utilizing tools to actively manage SCN. Using conservative estimates, the economics of the increase in active management is estimated at >$100M gains annually for U.S. soybean growers.
Despite great improvements in understanding and management, data suggests large numbers of growers (in most cases the majority) can still improve their yield by incorporating active SCN management tools. Additionally, the private and public sectors are making significant advancements in research, and we believe those advances need to be visible to growers in order to quickly adopt and economically benefit from their usage as they become available. In this proposal, we seek to build on the success of The SCN Coalition and focus on the economics of SCN and research advances in SCN management. We hope that the growers will save $100M+ more in prevention of yield loss due to SCN.

Performance Metrics

For objectives 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.
For objective 3. SCN Coalition Ongoing Communications. Success will be measured by
media impressions: share of SCN conversations, website traffic and social media impressions/retweets/etc. Press releases will be strategically timed around complementary leveraged events to multiply the message and magnify the impact.
Additional long-term objectives and KPI’s. Our new target is a significant increase in questions and components about active management of SCN (95% confidence) measured by market research in 2025. We also plan to lead an effort to update the National Soybean Nematode Strategic Plan (2023-2027), and ultimately, to increase active management of SCN.

Project Years