Challenge Accepted: Checkoff Calls on Innovators to Discover More Value for Soybean Meal

A farmer's hands holds a handful of soybean meal.

The Soy Innovation Challenge is an open innovation challenge that seeks out ag-tech startups, innovators, entrepreneurs, scientists and research groups to compete in helping solve some of the industry’s most pressing challenges and increase the use and value of soybeans. This year, the second Soy Innovation Challenge focuses on soybean meal innovations.

Soybean oil demand is increasing as a feedstock for renewable energy, creating new markets for soybean farmers. While this is a tremendous opportunity, an increase in crush for oil means greater meal supply. With U.S. soybean meal’s strong reputation as a high-value product, the Soy Innovation Challenge has the potential to find and foster new and unique revenue streams that will meet customers’ evolving preferences. The Soy Innovation Challenge is a partnership between the United Soybean Board and The Yield Lab Institute; together, they’re looking for new ideas to create additional value for soybean meal.

The initial Soy Innovation Challenge’s Grand Champion was Regrow, a company that provides full crop-cycle analytics for sustainable and profitable agriculture. Regrow Ag created software that farmers can use, based on their operation’s specific information, to detail changes that can increase profitability while judging the environmental impact.

“Our software uses their farm location, their management history and weather in their area along with their agronomic practices that can be changed or explored. They can add their own ‘secret sauce’ and knowledge, then see how the system responds and the financial impact of any potential changes,” said Anastasia Volkova, Ph.D., CEO of Regrow.

Since their win, Regrow Ag has built on their portfolio of market-disrupting advancements.

“We are providing farmer-first software that enables producers to see the sustainable and environmental impacts of their production practices,” Volkova said. “This helps farmers explore ways to prove their resilience and improve their bottom line without undergoing complex consultations. The software also gives farmers access to regionally adjusted climate and agronomic information. This information helps farmers become more sustainable while potentially strengthening their profitability.”

The soy checkoff is dedicated to supporting and leveraging partnerships, like the Soy Innovation Challenge, that provide farmers access to new technology and information that help them make more informed farming decisions.

By focusing on increasing soybean meal use and value, this year’s winners will present innovative solutions that have strong potential to scale and capture more value back to farmers with financial and technical support.

The next Soy Innovation Challenge winners will be announced in May 2023. For more information about the Soy Innovation Challenge 2022, visit

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