The national soy checkoff announced Thursday it has authorized the formation of a major industry partnership aimed at growing the market for a healthier soil oil through high-oleic soybeans.
"This is what the soy checkoff is all about – maximizing profit opportunities for all U.S. soybean farmers," says Vanessa Kummer, a former chair of the United Soybean Board and soybean farmer from North Dakota. "We have an opportunity to expand the acreage for high-oleic soybeans and strengthen U.S. soy's competitive position in the food and industrial sectors."
The new oil features significantly increased oxidative stability which is critical for high heat applications like frying foods, it contains less saturated fats, and it does not require hydrogenation. This increased functionality will be important for both food and industrial customers.
The new soy oil has also the potential to reclaim lost market share from other oils, such as canola. Russ Sanders, marketing director for the Dupont Pioneer Enhanced Oils Venture said the real challenge will be to develop a large-scale supply chain to bring the product into the market, but working quickly will be key to reclaim lost market share.
"This effort with high-oleic is not just a nice thing to do but it is really about a must-do situation for soybeans. We've lost something like 19 percentage points, almost 20% in food oil market space and much of that has been lost to high-oleic canola," Sanders said in a USB call Friday. "The other factor is that high-oleic canola has had about a 10-year start on us and that's one reason why this USB effort to really drive rapid growth and to do it very quickly is just so important to prevent us from losing more market share going forward."
Sanders noted that the USB effort wasn't just about regaining share, but also about expanding into new spaces.
The partnership with Dupont Pioneer and Monsanto is likely to also accelerate market development and supply chain efficiency of high-oleic soybeans. A goal of the plan is to have high-oleic soybeans available in maturity groups that cover up to 80% of U.S. soybean acres by 2020. Without the proposal, current industry projections put high-oleic soybeans at five to 10% of acres in 2020.
Although a five-year project, checkoff farmer-leaders will annually review the project's impact on farmer profitability before making each year's financial commitments. Like all checkoff-funded activities, this project is subject to USDA approval, which is pending.
"This partnership will rapidly drive market adoption in key soybean-producing areas," adds Kummer. "By expanding high-oleic soy's availability, we are sending the right signals to the entire value chain and helping to develop new markets for our soybeans. This is a strategic move for our entire industry."
For more information on the United Soybean Board, visit www.unitedsoybean.org