The Soy Innovation Challenge calls on ag-tech startups and teams to disrupt the current soybean value chain and create value for soybean farmers through innovation and technology.
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 (USB) and led by the Yield Lab Institute (YLI), 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.”
About United Soybean Board
USB’s 78 volunteer farmer-directors work on behalf of all U.S. soybean farmers to achieve maximum value for their soy checkoff investments. These volunteers invest and leverage checkoff funds in programs and partnerships to drive soybean innovation beyond the bushel and increase preference for U.S. soy. That preference is based on U.S. soybean meal and oil quality and the sustainability of U.S. soybean farmers. As stipulated in the federal Soybean Promotion, Research and Consumer Information Act, the USDA Agricultural Marketing Service has oversight responsibilities for USB and the soy checkoff. For more information on the United Soybean Board, visit unitedsoybean.org.
About The Yield Lab Institute
The Yield Lab Institute is a non-profit agtech think tank that brands itself as the nexus, catalyst for early, seed-stage agtech startups and innovations accelerating to market and commercialization. The Yield Lab Institute does this through a variety of initiatives that include but are not limited to: innovation prize challenges, ecosystem assessments, white papers, webinars, and newsletters. For more information, please visit the Yield Lab Institute.