Benson Hill field sales representative, John Naylor

Benson Hill field sales representative, John Naylor, right talks about the company's soybean varities to local farmers during an Iowa Soybean Association and Benson Hill field day on last month. (Photo: Iowa Soybean Association / Kriss Nelson)

Delivering opportunities

October 5, 2023 | Kriss Nelson

During times of tightening margins, differentiation can add value. That’s why soybean farmers are increasingly looking at options when considering what they’ll plant in 2024.

Joe Hynek of Murray is one of those farmers. Exploring options for producing more profit per acre is what drove him (literally and figuratively) to Lenox Sept. 8 for a field day hosted by Benson Hill and the Iowa Soybean Association (ISA).

“Benson Hill is right in our backyard, and I think seeing more opportunities available for farmers is great, especially to raise higher-value crops,” says the ISA farmer member.

A self-described food and technology company, Benson Hill is focusing on all levels of the soybean industry by working to meet the growing demand for heart-healthy oils and plant-based proteins for humans, pets and livestock. Its unique portfolio of non-GMO soybeans provides a premium to the farmers who grow them.

Included in their availability for Iowa soybean farmers are 10 non-GMO high protein, ultra-high protein and high oleic varieties.

The company is working to do this with greater transparency.

“We can go to customers and tell them where the soybeans were grown,” says Dustin Brucker, Benson Hill conservation agriculture manager. “There is opportunity in this unique environment of full transparency of the supply chain through the seed, field, crush facility to the customer.”

Benson Hill is also partnering with the United Soybean Board to bring an opportunity to farmers made available from the Climate Smart Commodities Grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Farmers for Soil Health is being led by the soy checkoff, pork checkoff and the National Corn Growers Association to assist growers in advancing the use of soil health practices, such as cover crops, to help improve farmer profitability. This farmer-led partnership advances soil health practices like cover crops to meet sustainability and profitability goals.

Partnering for Iowa soybean farmers

Partnering with industry to bring options to soybean farmers is an ISA priority. It’s why the association networks with dozens of industry partners, including those in the business of providing innovative soybean traits and genetics.

“Benson Hill has unique options for the grower that could help them increase their revenue per acre,” says Aaron Putze, ISA chief officer of strategy and brand management. “As an association, we are about bringing farmers those options that may fit their farm.”

Brucker relayed the company’s program tagline: “Plant for Profit, Harvest the Future.”

“We want to plant the seed of innovation,” Bruker says. “By collaborating with the Iowa Soybean Association, we are working to add profit for farmers by adding value to the supply chain.”

The field day was held at Benson Hill’s test plot in Lenox, with more than two dozen farmers in attendance.

Also on hand were ISA Research Agronomist Drew Clemmensen and ISA Analytics and Insight Lead Matt Carroll, who spoke to the group on trial opportunities through ISA’s Research Center for Farming Innovation. ISA makes available the outcomes of those trials and more through online tools and reports.

“I got a lot of new ideas, including more about manure applications and found the drainage water recycling projects very interesting,” says Hynek.