To commemorate National Ag Day on March 24, the United Soybean Board and the Yield Lab Institute announced the Soy Innovation Challenge. The Yield Lab Institute is a non-profit ag-tech think tank that brands itself as the nexus, catalyst for early, seed-stage ag-tech startups and innovations accelerating to market and commercialization.

This 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

“U.S. soybean farmers principally are price takers in the existing soybean supply chain, without transparent access to market signals originating from end users,” according to a March 30 press release by USB and YLI. “The complexity of the value chain makes it difficult for end users to buy raw materials that meet their needs.”

This is the problem that the Soy Innovation Challenge has set itself to address. “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, Pa. 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. USB and the YLI invite ag-tech startups, project teams and groups to submit their ideas at www.f6s.com/soyinnovationchallenge/apply.

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