Soybean Research Principal Investigator Profile – Elizabeth Hawkins
Elizabeth Hawkins, Field Specialist, Agronomic Systems, Ohio State University Extension
Why did you decide to pursue a career that includes soybean research?
I grew up on an Ohio farm, and I knew at an early age that I wanted to be involved in agriculture. I want to help farmers like my father and brother be profitable and productive. Over the course of my education, I have learned about the power of data, and now I am committed to producing relevant data and bringing it to farmers.
What research topic have you completed in the past or are working on now that could have or has had the most significant impact on soybean production?
While I have been involved in many small research projects, sharing the results of these and other studies through Ohio State eFields On-Farm Research has the most impact. The program and its annual report bring all the information from on-farm together and get it to farmers in a form they can use.
How has the soybean checkoff enhanced your ability to find answers to production problems for farmers?
The soy checkoff is critical to our research. Not only does it provide funds, it also allows us to interact with farmers to get feedback and input that drives our practical research. We focus on what Ohio farmers care about, and checkoff support allows us to quickly and effectively address local issues.
Within your area of expertise, what are the top two or three general recommendations you would offer farmers to improve their management practices?
Farmers should constantly be learning by engaging with researchers and other farmers. They should ask extension researchers their questions to learn more about topics they want to understand better. Active engagement in learning will help them quickly get local information and data that can improve their operations.
Within your area of expertise, what do you consider to be critical soybean research needs that can impact the profitability of famers in the future?
Research needs to keep an eye on the horizon for how new technologies will impact how we farm. Such forward-looking research will help farmers figure out when to invest in technology to improve profitability. Research also needs to help farmers turn data into information that improves their bottom line.