CARBONDALE, Ill. -- Illinois soybean researchers are struggling to continue with their work after a board's decision to invest in areas other than research where the board believes they'll have a larger impact.

The Illinois Soybean Association is focusing on opening new foreign markets to soybeans and advocating for infrastructure improvements, The Southern Illinoisan reported.

Soybean farmers across the country contribute 0.5 percent of their crop sales to research. The funds are split between state, regional and national soybean boards, which then distribute the funds. The Illinois Soybean Association's board, which is comprised of 24 elected farmers, allocated about $12 million last year.

The association spent 41 percent of its 2017-2018 budget on promoting Illinois soybeans, 24 percent to helping farmers adopt new technology to improve yields and sustainability, 17 percent to improving transportation efficiency and 16 percent to outreach to corporate groups and Illinois farmers. The association believes private industry donors, chemical and seed companies and the national United Soybean Board have a larger impact on research, according to Lynn Rohrscheib, the association's chairwoman.

The funding cuts have forced researchers to seek funding elsewhere and adapt their research approach, said Jason Bond, a plant pathology professor at Southern Illinois University Carbondale.

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