A ground-breaking partnership of state soybean checkoff boards and land grant universities from 10 North Central states has formed the Soybean Cyst Nematode (SCN) Coalition.

The coalition's goal: to get soybean growers to test for SCN, and if they find they have it, take the necessary steps to manage the problem - which ranks No. 1 as a profit stealer.

The coalition's slogan, which you will hear and see a lot in the next year is, "Take the test. Beat the pest."

The massive coalition effort is being largely underwritten by the North Central Soybean Research Program. That's an alliance created by 10 state soybean checkoff boards.

Cooperating states include: Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, Ohio, South Dakota and Wisconsin.

In addition to grower checkoff funds, the coalition is getting financial backing from several seed companies and ag cooperatives.

Industry partners, besides the American Soybean Association and the United Soybean Board, include Asgrow Seed Co., Cargill Hybrid Seeds, Cenex/Land O'Lakes, Dekalb Genetics, Growmark/Countrymark, Mycogen Seeds, Novartis Seeds and Pioneer Hi-Bred International.

Besides extension and research scientists at each of the North Central land grant universities, representatives from seed companies, farm cooperatives, crop consulting firms and ag media will be involved in executing the regional umbrella program.

SCN has spread so that it has now been identified in virtually every state where soybeans are grown. It has also been written about and talked about in educational efforts.

So why is such a special, all-out effort needed now?

The answer is simple, says Bryan Hieser, an Illinois soybean grower and chairman of the North Central Soybean Research Program: It's volume.

"We feel the urgency of our message wasn't reaching the grower," he declares. "By enlisting partners from state soybean boards and private industry, we could reach more growers and have greater impact with our key messages of testing soils for SCN and using the management tools available to prevent further damage, if you have the problem."

There's another reason - and it's a very key one, notes Greg Tylka, Iowa State University nematologist and coalition leader for the scientists cooperating in this regional effort.

"This whole idea of having significant yield loss without seeing any above-ground symptoms," he emphasizes, "is a concept that obviously hasn't been getting through to growers and needs to be pushed."

Now it will be. So, the next move is up to soybean growers.