ST. LOUIS — A partnership between the soybean checkoff and
two seed companies promises to increase the soybean oil market substantially.
But Illinois farmers will have to wait a while before they can plant the
United Soybean Board officers, along with representatives
from DuPont and Monsanto, announced recently that they are working together to
expand the market for high-oleic beans. Projections are that the biotech seeds
will be available for planting on 80 percent of soybean acres by the year
The varieties initially will be available only to soybean
growers in Indiana, Ohio and Michigan, according to Vanessa Kummer, outgoing USB
“That is a targeted marketing strategy,” she said. “But our
partnership takes that strategy and applies it more broadly, making high-oleic
soybean seed more widely available which can lead to having more acres planted
and a strong signal to our partners in the value chain that it is important to
High-oleic oils are high in monounsaturated fats and provide
more stability under higher temperatures than regular oil. Canola and olive oils
are naturally high-oleic.
“The promising new soy oil features significantly increased
oxidative stability, which is critical for high heat applications like frying
foods, and also contains less saturated fats,” Kummer said. “This increased
functionality will be important for both food and industrial customers.”
It has the potential to increase the value of U.S. soy oil
substantially. The partnership could bring as much as $2 billion to soybean
farmers by 2023, helping strengthen U.S. soy competitiveness in the global
market, according to Kummer.
“The partnership will accelerate (DuPont and Monsanto) to
develop a higher range of maturity groups,” she said. “In addition to expanding
breeding programs, the checkoff committee is also committed to high-oleic soy
with the farm, food and industrial sectors.
“What is unique about this opportunity is that farmers will
work with food and industrial customers to help increase demand. By expanding
the availability of high-oleic soybean varieties, we are strengthening U.S.
soy’s competitiveness and strategically leading the industry into the
Russ Sanders, marketing director for DuPont’s Pioneer seed
brand, said the partnership will greatly increase the manufacture of high-oleic
“This will enable much broader access to this innovative
technology,” he said. “High-oleic soybeans are nothing less than a reinvention
of soybean oil from the perspective of food and industrial customers and,
ultimately, the consumer.
“A key challenge is to develop a large-scale, high efficient
supply chain to bring the technology to the market and to do it as rapidly as
possible. With the USB initiative, we can drive it to its full potential by
Jim Tobin, Monsanto’s vice president for industry affairs,
said his company recently entered into a partnership with an industrial
lubricant manufacturer to explore opportunities for bio-based lubricants.
“This collaboration offers opportunities,” he said.
DuPont and Monsanto are seeking approval for their
high-oleic varieties in Europe and elsewhere.
The unique partnership with Monsanto and soybean growers is
critical to the success of the project, according to Sanders.
“Everybody benefits. That includes processors, growers and
end-users,” he said. “We really like where we are. With this announcement, it
really indicates how together the industry is. We think that’s the formula for
“It’s important to have farmer involvement to help make sure
we can produce plenty of this,” he said. “That’s why we’re excited to have USB
in on this. It sends a message to the food companies that we have farmers on