• By Lynda Kiernan

Biotech Company Benson Hill to Offer Advanced Soybean Varieties With Launch of New Seed Company


Crop biotech company Benson Hill is expanding, with the announcement of the launch of Benson Hill Seeds, a business designed to provide superior seeds (including non-GMO seeds) that can meet the demands of the evolving and growing global food and agriculture industries.

Launched in 2012 and headquartered in St. Louis, Missouri, Benson Hill is the developer of a revolutionary platform that combines machine learning and big data with genome editing and plant biology to dramatically accelerate and simplify the development of healthier and more sustainable crops and ingredients for both the human and animal feed markets.

Forecasts state that global protein consumption is expected to climb at a compounded annual growth rate (CAGR) of 1.7 percent, reaching 943 million tons by 2054, according to Lux Research. Of this, less than 1 percent is currently derived from non-animal sources, however, experts including the UN FAO predict that demand for non-animal-based protein has the potential to account for between 10 and 20 percent of growing demand, which would translate to the need for as much as 200 million tons of plant protein per year.

This wave of preference for plant-based proteins by consumers, combined with a deepening knowledge about the food supply chain, has resulted in consumers not only wanting more plant-based proteins in their own diets, but are looking for certain attributes in the diet of the chickens that lay their eggs, and the livestock that are raised for consumption. These shifts are opening a widow for disruption for businesses like Benson Hill Seeds that have the detailed technology to meet these demands.

“Benson Hill's crop design platform uses the most advanced traditional breeding and gene editing techniques to improve crop performance, nutrition profiles, and taste and texture characteristics," said Matt Crisp, CEO and co-founder, Benson Hill.

"As consumers demand greater focus on health and sustainability in food production, Benson Hill Seeds will deliver an expanded portfolio of soybean varieties with unique attributes that position growers to leverage those booming markets.”

It’s portfolio includes cutting-edge seed varieties offering superior protein and oil profiles, greater feed digestibility ratios, low trypsin inhibitor levels, and other qualities sought after by high-volume end users. One such offering is the eMerge Genetics portfolio of products - an internationally known portfolio of non-GMO soybean varieties that are non-GMO verified for sale in all markets, including the EU.

"Benson Hill Seeds will continue to deliver the non-GMO eMerge portfolio as well as new offerings explicitly designed to benefit both farmers and consumers," said Jeff Johnson, President of Benson Hill Seeds. "Our focus is to expand the product choices and facilitated transparency that growers and distributors are requesting to fully leverage these new market opportunities."

Benson Hill Seeds will be headed by president Jeff Johnson, and its team will be debuting its new business and brand at the American Seed Trade Association (ASTA) conference.

"In the two decades that I have been breeding soybeans for both nutritional quality and yield optimization, I've never been more excited about the opportunities on the horizon," said Bill Rhodes, soybean breeder, Benson Hill. "We're looking forward to meeting with seed companies and growers in Chicago next week to talk about some of the exciting things we can do for their business."

Benson Hill Seeds’ offices will be located in Des Moines, Iowa - a strategic location in proximity to Schillinger Genetics, a company acquired by Benson Hill in March of this year that has worked for 20 years to improve both the yield and the nutrient profile of soybeans, creating a portfolio of superior non-GMO, high yielding, high protein, in-demand varieties.

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Lynda Kiernan is Editor with HighQuest Group Media and of the Oilseed & Grain News. If you would like to submit a contribution for consideration, please contact Ms. Kiernan at lkiernan@highquestgroup.com.

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