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Rachel Vann

Department of Crop and Soil Sciences

Platform Director for Extension Outreach and Engagement

Assistant Professor and Soybean Extension Specialist

Plant Sciences Building

Bio

Cell – 919-616-6775
Twitter: @NCSUsoybeans

Dr. Rachel Vann provides leadership for the NC State Soybean Extension Program focused on providing soybean stakeholders across North Carolina with agronomic information that will aid in maximizing soybean yields.

Rachel directs her extension efforts towards general soybean agronomic management. The focus of her research program includes appropriate soybean maturity group selection, ideal planting windows, rotational effects on soybean production, maximizing cover crop benefits to increase soybean yields, product evaluation, and grain pea production. She teaches the agricultural institute and undergraduate course on soybean production in the spring.

Rachel grew up in Geneseo, Illinois and completed her Bachelor’s Degree at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign studying Natural Resources and Environmental Sciences with a minor in Crop and Soil Science (B.S. 2012). She completed her graduate degrees at NC State University. Her Master’s degree focused on cover crop management in organic corn production and organic canola production (M.S. 2015). Between her Master’s and Ph.D. she completed a U.S. Borlaug Fellowship in Costa Rica. Her Ph.D. focused on cover crop breeding and management and weed control in cotton (Ph.D. 2017). Prior to beginning her position at NC State as the Soybean Extension Specialist, Rachel was an Postdoc in the Organic Grains Program.

Publications

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Grants

Date: 09/15/20 - 9/14/24
Amount: $740,000.00
Funding Agencies: US Dept. of Agriculture - National Institute of Food and Agriculture (USDA NIFA)

Potassium (K) is an essential macronutrient for plants, and its availability strongly affects biomass production, tolerance to stress, and yield. Since only a small fraction of the soil K content is plant available, plants must develop efficient strategies for its uptake from the soil. The most important strategy used by plants to acquire nutrients is the arbuscular mycorrhizal (AM) symbiosis, a mutualistic association between the majority of land plants and ubiquitous soil fungi. We have recently demonstrated that AM fungi can also have a positive impact on legume K nutrition, but the physiological and molecular mechanisms underpinning this symbiotic exchange are only poorly understood. A better understanding of the strategies used by legumes to acquire K will be crucial to improving future crop productivity and environmental sustainability of crop production. The increasing demand for food and the development of alternative strategies for enhancing crop yields while reducing the use of chemical fertilizers represents a critical research priority. The overall of this project is to (1) confirm that AM fungi can transport K from the soil to the host legumes Medicago truncatula and soybean (2) understand how environmental factors (especially water limitation), nutrient availability, and carbon transport from the host to the AM fungus affects the symbiotic transport of K, and (3) identify and characterize the molecular mechanisms used by non-mycorrhizal and mycorrhizal legume plants in response to K deficiency.

Date: 02/01/20 - 1/31/24
Amount: $19,920.00
Funding Agencies: NC Soybean Producers Association, Inc.

The project seeks to provide both localized and regional information to soybean producers across North Carolina on management practices that contribute to the ‘yield gap’ defined as the difference between maximum yield potential and realized soybean yield. These objectives will be achieved by working with other Southern USA states to gather production information through a comprehensive survey and applying a biophysical spatial framework. These survey results will be used to identify causes of yield gaps across the Southern USA region and within North Carolina. If we can identify management practices that are contributing to the yield gap between maximum yield potential and realized yields, it will help our soybean producers focus on improving management to maximize soybean yield.

Date: 10/01/22 - 9/30/23
Amount: $45,996.00
Funding Agencies: United Soybean Board

North Carolina State University and the Agricultural Research Service (ARS / Agency) desire to enter into this Agreement for the purpose of supporting research to be carried out at ARS and Cooperator facilities. ARS desires the Cooperator to provide goods and services necessary to carry out research of mutual interest in Raleigh, North Carolina. The Agency location is engaged in research addressing the development of soybean cultivars and germplasm.

Date: 10/01/22 - 9/30/23
Amount: $48,169.00
Funding Agencies: United Soybean Board

North Carolina State University and the Agricultural Research Service (ARS / Agency) desire to enter into this Agreement for the purpose of supporting research to be carried out at ARS and Cooperator facilities. ARS desires the Cooperator to provide goods and services necessary to carry out research of mutual interest in Raleigh, North Carolina. The Agency Location is engaged in research on soybean genetics.

Date: 10/01/22 - 9/30/23
Amount: $86,890.00
Funding Agencies: United Soybean Board

The objective of this project is to develop and distribute up-to-date, high-quality information to soybean farmers across the U.S. on emerging best management practices (BMP’s) through our national Science for Success partnership. We seek to develop soybean BMP’s by both the effective summarization of existing data and the creation of new data-driven information that will allow soybean farmers to generate revenue and invest in sustainable on-farm practices. This project brings together soybean Extension personnel from diverse U.S. regions who collaboratively investigate BMP’s and subsequently disseminate information using diverse outreach strategies. This team is in dynamic contact with soybean farmers in their respective states and regions who guide research investigation into BMP’s. This team leverages QSSB funding to support common-theme localized research efforts needed to provide data-derived BMP’s and seek USB funding through the proposed project to support subsequent collaborative Extension efforts. USB funding is specifically sought to support bi-annual meetings where high-quality information will be generated (Extension publications, social media releases, videos, webinars). This collaborative group will work with a communication subcontractor who will aid in Extension content generation on BMP areas of focus. This team will sustain the goals of this project by continuing to leverage QSSB funding to support localized research efforts integral to providing soybean farmers with the tools and information they need to continue increasing their quality and efficiency, ultimately allowing us to develop and deliver data-driven BMP’s on a national scale.


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