U.S. soybean farmers principally are price takers in the existing soybean supply chain, without transparent access to market signals originating from end users. Similarly, the complexity of the value chain makes it difficult for end users to buy raw materials that meet their needs. To enhance farmers’ ability to make dynamic, profit-enhancing decisions based on clear demand information, the Soy Innovation Challenge, sponsored and founded by the United Soybean Board and led by the Yield Lab Institute, aims to solve this problem.
To commemorate National Ag Day on March 24, 2020, USB and the YLI announced the Soy Innovation Challenge. This non-dilutive startup accelerator program identifies innovative soybean value chain-based product solutions and supports the most promising ones with business coaching and entrepreneurial networking. The Soy Innovation Challenge seeks ideas for the creation of new kinds of supply chain structures and technologies that offer transparency, facilitate alignment based on measurable sustainability parameters and increase farm profitability.
“It’s critical that the voice of the farmer is present in deciding which disruptive technologies will transform the global food system,” said Andy Fabin, USB director and farmer from Indiana, Pennsylvania.
This partnership between USB and the YLI initiates a real opportunity to increase collaboration and bridge the gap between farmers, agribusinesses, experts and the selected startup companies or teams.
“The soybean value chain represents an exciting new challenge for the Institute,” said Brandon Day, COO at the YLI. “By opening a worldwide call to ag-tech startups in the soy innovation space, we are creating a platform for technology and innovation to capture and provide value directly back to soy farmers.”
The application period is March 24 through May 1, 2020. USB and the YLI invite ag-tech startups, project teams and groups to submit their ideas (apply online). This includes entities that operate in the soybean value chain and have an innovative product, service or technology that provides value directly back to U.S. soybean farmers. Cash prizes will be awarded at the conclusion of the challenge. All selected teams will receive mentoring and resources to help advance their ideas in the areas of technical, business, financial and environmental impact.
“U.S. agriculture has a unique opportunity to offer solutions to the climate challenge,” said Tim Venverloh, USB Vice President of Sustainability Strategy. “Meeting consumer demand for sustainably produced U.S. soybeans will involve protecting soil health, improving nutrient use efficiency and enhancing the delivery and communication of sustainability information.”