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Soy Innovation Challenge furthers soy meal value


The United Soybean Board and the Yield Lab Institute have announced the Soy Innovation Challenge. The aim of the challenge is simple — create innovations that increase the use and value of soybean meal in existing markets.

Whether that’s increasing use and value of soybean meal in animal agriculture, aquaculture, pet foods, and soy foods for human consumption, advancing its commercial viability, or enhancing the transportability and storage viability of soybean meal, all ideas are welcome. And there’s $170,000 in cash prizes being awarded.

“Soybean oil demand is increasing as a feedstock for renewable energy, creating unique opportunities for soybean farmers. But an increase in expanded crush for oil means higher meal supply. With U.S. soybean meal’s strong reputation as a high value product, additional pathways are necessary to advance consumption both domestically and internationally,” said Ralph Lott, USB Chair and farmer from New York.

The Soy Innovation Challenge will enhance the value of soybean meal in existing markets and uses by targeting:

  • Innovations that increase use and value for soybean meal in animal agriculture, aquaculture, pet foods, and soy foods for human consumption.
  • Innovations that advance the commercial viability of existing uses and segments in both food and feed spaces, overcoming the technical challenges of increasing soybean meal usage.
  • Innovations that advance the transportability and storage viability of soybean meal.

“With clear sustainability differentiators, such as soil health and land stewardship, this competition has the potential to create unique revenue streams for U.S. soybean farmers in meeting customers’ evolving preferences,” said Mac Marshall, USB vice president of market intelligence. “Sustainability is the future of our industry, and these new innovations will enhance the profit opportunities for our farmers.” 

Soybean meal is used as a feed ingredient for animal agriculture. These markets are limited by demand constraints of poultry and livestock volume, competition from alternative ingredients, storage capacity and transportation challenges. The Soy Innovation Challenge aims to solve these problems.

The application period is open now through December 6. USB and YLI invite ag-tech startups and project and research teams and groups to submit applications online. This includes entities that operate in the soybean meal value chain and have an innovative solution that can enhance known uses and markets of soybean meal. 

The selected teams will compete for:

  • $170,000 in cash prizes courtesy of USB
  • $5,000 in in-kind technical services and credits per finalist courtesy of Amazon Web Services, one of the sponsors
  • gene-editing, transgenic plant generation/transformation and other research services courtesy of Solis Agrosciences

All selected teams will receive mentoring and resources to help advance their ideas in the areas of technical, business and financial impact.

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