Soybean board, Arkansas Division of Ag renew soybean fellowship agreement

The Arkansas Soybean Promotion Board and the University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture have renewed an agreement to provide fellowships to master’s and Ph.D. students pursuing agriculture-related studies.

Under the agreement, signed July 26 in Newport, the Arkansas Soybean Promotion Board will provide a gift of $100,000 per year for five years, beginning in 2022. The action comes 10 years after the first fellowship was awarded.

“Soybeans are one of Arkansas’ most important crops, valued at more than $1.5 billion a year. It’s important that we invest in attracting talent to Arkansas that will continue to help our farmers grow amid all the challenges they face,” said Donald Morton, chairman of the Arkansas Soybean Promotion Board. “We see this as an investment that will help bring innovation to Arkansas agriculture.”

The Arkansas Soybean Promotion Board Fellowship recipients are selected by the head of the Division of Agriculture, which encompasses land grant research and extension.

“These fellowships give us an opportunity to compete for top-quality students and to reinvest in what the Arkansas Soybean Promotion Board has helped us with,” said Deacue Fields, vice president-agriculture for the University of Arkansas System and former dean of the Dale Bumpers College of Agricultural, Food and Life Sciences at the University of Arkansas. “We depend on these students to bring new ideas and energy—all of which benefit agriculture in Arkansas and we are grateful for the support from the board.”

“The Fellowship attracts talent to Arkansas, but a surprising number of fellows choose to call Arkansas and the Mid-South home after graduation,” said Nathan McKinney, assistant director of the Arkansas Agricultural Experiment Station. “They end up investing their considerable skills here for a career.”


Begun in 2011, the fellowship gift provides a monthly stipend to master’s and doctoral students engaged in the study of soils, plants, animals, pest management, engineering, food and feed sciences directly impacting Arkansas soybean production. Each recipient must be under the supervision of a major professor whose primary area of research relates to soybean production, processing, utilization, and/or a very closely related plant, animal or soil science program. To be eligible, each fellowship recipient must work in the research program of their major professor in addition to maintaining the normal academic responsibilities for a master’s of science or Ph.D. program.

The first fellowships were awarded in 2012 to students pursuing degrees at the University of Arkansas and Arkansas State University.

The Arkansas Soybean Promotion Board supports research, extension and educational activities in the state through funding it manages from the soy commodity checkoff program.

Half of all checkoff dollars collected in Arkansas remain in the state.