Benson Hill facility

(Photo: Benson Hill)

Iowa Soybean Farmers Can Take Advantage of New Value-Added Markets in 2023

November 10, 2022

Written by: Christi Dixon, Benson Hill Sr. Director of Public Relations & Events

Feeding the world is no small feat. Today’s farmers produce enough calories to feed 1.5x the population. But the population continues to grow, and the demand for protein will double by 2050. And today’s consumer wants more nutritious and sustainably produced food options. They also want to know where their food comes from with greater traceability. What’s a soybean farmer to do?

One company is thinking about the food system differently and holistically – keeping consumers, CPGs and the environment in mind – and engaging Iowa farmers to realize that vision. Benson Hill is developing crops with valuable quality attributes, such as higher protein, improved oil profiles and lower antinutrients for use in aquaculture. Based in the ag tech innovation district in St. Louis, Benson Hill uses advanced breeding techniques to develop soybean varieties designed for new fast-growing markets. By using artificial intelligence and machine learning, the company designs soybeans that are more nutritious while minimizing trade-offs such as yield, and does it faster and more precisely than traditional breeding.

Because these soybeans are higher in protein right out of the ground, they also eliminate energy intensive ingredient and food processing steps, saving water and reducing CO2 emissions. It’s why companies like MorningStar Farms® are choosing Benson Hill as a partner in achieving larger sustainability commitments.

Soybean field in Iowa

“With the advances in technology from Benson Hill, and the possible reduction in processing, we can bring a higher quality protein source to the market,” said Matt Danner of Templeton Farms, Templeton, Iowa.

The innovation at the seed level is just the beginning. The company works closely with farmer partners like Danner to help bring these options to the table, both literally and figuratively. Benson Hill works with its farmer partners on specific practices, considering geography and individual farm circumstances. This year, the program includes seed treatments and a new weed management program.

And that work doesn’t end at the farm gate. End customers include some of the world’s largest ingredient and food manufacturers. And the crush destination is often Creston, Iowa, where Benson Hill operates its own facility for producing white flake and high-value, texturized flour products from soy. Through this model, Iowa soybean farmers are working to deliver options to consumers that are more sustainably-produced and traceable – bringing consumers and farmers closer together.

“Benson Hill’s ideal farmer partners are progressive and business-oriented and are always looking to improve the economics and operations of their farm, yet share our drive for more nutritious and sustainable food,” said Jeff Johnson, president of Benson Hill Seeds. “However, we partner with a wide range of farmers and capabilities if the circumstances for their farm and our business are a good fit. Over past seasons, the majority of our farmer partners have found they can better optimize their farm’s profit potential with Benson Hill soybeans.*”

Typically farmers in Benson Hill’s program are located within a few hundred miles of its soybean processing facilities and can store grain because the products are identity preserved and cannot be co-mingled or contaminated in any way.  Also, ideal partners have a capacity for production at a level of 500 acres or more. Varieties supported by the program represent a range of maturity zones and include 12 high protein, low anti-nutrient, and high-oleic varieties. Iowa farmers have access to 11 of those.


For more information on Benson Hill’s 2023 Farmer Program, please visit or reach out to Jeff Johnson at (314) 594-7624.

*Based on internal analysis considering yield estimates, farmer premiums, seeding density, and the costs for seeds/traits, seed treatments, and herbicide applications.