Startups seek $170,000 in Soy Innovation Challenge | So Good News


Called the Soy Innovation Challenge, it is an initiative of the United Soybean Board (USB) and The Yield Lab Institute (YLI).

“The demand for soybean oil as a renewable energy feedstock is growing, creating unique opportunities for soybean farmers. But an increase in the amount of advanced grinding for oil means an increase in food. Because U.S. soybean meal has a strong reputation as a high-value product, additional ways are needed to promote consumption domestically and internationally,” said Ralph Lott, USB chair and farmer from New York, in a press release.

The Soy Innovation Challenge aims to increase the value and use of soybean meal in existing markets by targeting:

  • Innovations that increase the use and value of soybean meal in livestock, aquaculture, pet foods and soy foods for human consumption.
  • Innovations that advance the commercial viability of existing uses and segments in the food and feed spaces while overcoming the technical challenges of increasing the use of soybean meal.
  • Innovations to improve transportation and storage of soybean meal.

“With clear sustainability differentiators such as soil health and land management, this competition has the potential to create unique revenue streams for US soybean farmers to meet evolving consumer preferences,” said Mac Marshall, USB’s vice president of market intelligence. “Sustainability is the future of our industry and these new innovations will increase profit opportunities for our farmers.”

Soy flour is used as animal feed. These markets are constrained by demand constraints on poultry and livestock volumes, competition from alternative ingredients, storage capacity, and transportation challenges. The Soy Innovation Challenge aims to address these issues.

Applications are open until December 6. USB and YLI invite ag-tech startups, project/research teams and groups to submit online applications. This includes businesses that operate in the soybean meal value chain and have an innovative solution that can improve existing uses and markets for soybean meal. This task is sponsored by USB and Amazon Web Services (AWS). Selected teams will compete for:

  • $170,000 cash prize, via USB.
  • $5,000 in in-kind technical services and credits per finalist courtesy of AWS.
  • All selected teams will receive mentoring and resources to help advance their ideas in technical, business and financial impact areas.

“Increasing interest in increasing the overall value of soybean meal in favorable market conditions for soybeans is often forgotten in the equation. This innovation challenge uncovers ideas and technologies that will increase the value of soybean meal and its components in existing markets and uses. It’s really an exercise in circular economy and bean optimization,” said Brandon Day, CEO of YLI.


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