County farmers named to board

Published 9:19 pm Monday, January 21, 2013

The North Carolina Soybean Producers Association has named two Beaufort County farmers to the state board.
At the NCSPA annual meeting in Durham on Friday, Oran “Mart” Benson and Isaac Boerema, both of Pantego, were nominated by their farming peers and colleagues to the three-year terms.
The role is strictly volunteer and constitutes quite a bit of work, said Charles Hall, CEO of NCSPA for the past six years. While the board meets three times a year per its bylaws, Hall said, it often meets more frequently as the members are responsible for reviewing research projects and proposals and dispersing funds to bring those to fruition.
Since 1993, NCSPA members have imposed a self-assessment on their yearly crops equaling one-half of 1 percent of their crop value. That money is then put back into research, marketing and development, to the benefit of all soybean farmers, Hall said, explaining that the group works hand in hand with several different departments of the College of Agriculture at North Carolina State University.
Hall cites an example of the work the board
oversees: research into seeding rates and row space, working toward maximum efficiency in the largest yield combined with the smallest outlay.
“A bag of seed has got to be pretty expensive because farmers pay for the technology the companies put into that seed,” Hall explained. “Our research helped farmers directly to save money on the farm.”
Another example is the development of drought-resistant plants, which Hall said is an ongoing issue.
“With the weather we’ve had the last few years, we know we’re going to have hot, dry weather,” Hall said. “We’re (studying it) so that farmers will have a better crop even in those dry years.”
Hall said NCSPA board seats are divvied up by studying soybean production maps: representatives from the western, lower-production, counties may represent several counties. In the east, production is so high that most board members represent only one county.
Benson will represent Beaufort County on the NCSPA board. Boerema will represent Hyde County.
During the 2009 crop year, Hyde County recorded 1.2 million bushels of soybeans, while Beaufort County yielded 2.9 million bushels, the second-highest amount in the state.
“The only county ranked higher is Robeson,” Hall said. “Compared to other counties, (they are) some of the top producing counties in the state.”