Consider the simple soybean. Less than a tenth of an inch wide, this beige-colored bean is tucked inside green pocketed sprouts whose stalks can grow up to 6.5 feet high. Small, unassuming little beans, and yet they are the United States’ most valuable agricultural export. According to USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service’s (FAS) “2020 U.S. Agricultural Export Yearbook,” total soybean exports in 2020 reached $25.683 billion, far exceeding corn at $9.210 billion.
Here in North Dakota, soy is part of our agricultural DNA. We are one of the top ten states for soybean production. However, few have traced the journey of soybean from seed to feed in its entirety.
“The Seed to Feed project was created as an educational experience demonstrating how the supply chain works. It looks at questions like, ‘Who are the key players along the supply chain, and what solutions are being developed to improve it?’” Peter Schott, Genesis Feed Technologies CEO, said. “It’s a big show and tell, a conversation starter, and hopefully an inspiration for improving both the supply chain and ag industry as a whole.”
Genesis Feed Technologies, a Fargo-based agtech startup, partnered with The Grand Farm, an ag-tech innovation and research initiative, to secure a 5-acre plot of land for the project located at the Grand Farm Innovation Site south of Fargo. Seed to Feed partner Proseed supplied the seeds, which were planted at the beginning of May and are already sprouting. Soon, the land will be decorated with signage walking visitors through the journey of the soybeans, as they go from plant to harvest, to soybean crushers, to feed manufacturing. The idea is that the entire supply chain can be represented in close proximity, Schott said—ultimately showing how this kind of traceability can bring more value back to the growers.
“This project plays a key role in our mission to define new premium standards for soybeans being sold to crushers and grain elevators,” he said. “I grew up on a farm, and the goal is for our work to give value back to farmers like my dad and brother—who are as we speak planting crops for the year. We believe this project and other GFT initiatives have a real shot at making positive changes on production agriculture.”
These are the innovative projects that the Grand Farm is designed to make possible, Grand Farm leadership said. Andrew Jason, Head of Special Projects for Grand Farm, and William Aderholdt, Grand Farm Program Manager, described the Grand Farm as existing to foster connection, facilitation, and amplification of local agtech innovators.
We want people to see that we have a global ecosystem around ag innovation based in Fargo,” Aderholdt said. “By bringing these ideas together, we hope this leads to more collaboration.”
MEET THE PARTNERS
The Seed to Feed project is led by Genesis Feed Technologies. GFT is in turn organizing and collaborating with other industry partners. Each of these partners is a leader in the ag industry and each represents different solutions within the supply chain.
AgLaunch is revolutionizing the way that innovations in agriculture and food are brought to market. By leveraging its distributed network of farm incubators, entrepreneurial farmers, aligned capital partners, research consortia, technical consulting, and best-inclass accelerator programming, their goal is to effectively challenge the status quo and thoughtfully create value for farmers and the communities they serve. The AgLaunch vision is a transformed regional agriculture and food economy centered around farmers, innovation, and prosperity.
What problem in the supply chain we’re solving, and how?
Data Interoperability remains a massive challenge in agtech, and while this problem is technically solvable, conflicting incentives throughout the supply chain and within the agtech ecosystem make it difficult for a private technology company to effectively integrate systems across many farms. The solution, as is often the case in agriculture, is farmers working together. AgLaunch has developed a Data Commons owned by the AgLaunch Farmer Network that enables farmers to securely aggregate, store, and share data from and with multiple technology providers.
AgriDigital is on a mission to power trust in the global agri supply chain by combining physical inventory management and workflows, supply chain data and commodity backed inventory finance into one easy to use and secure digital platform.
Waypath for farmers, AgriDigital’s harvest and inventory management platform, covers all aspects of grain supply chain management – including contracts, deliveries, storage, payments and invoices – including contracts, deliveries, storage, payments and invoices. Waypath gives farmers the flexibility to access and manage their data whether they are out in the field, in the office, or on vacation. Waypath helps farmers get the most value for their grain with the tools to sell at the right time, for the right price.
At AgriDigital, we are laser focused on solving real problems for our customers, and collaborating to create truly connected supply chains. Get in touch with our team and let’s grow together.
Agri-supply chains are under pressure to be more sustainable, efficient and secure. At the same time, farmers don’t have access to the finance they need to meet these challenges. Geora provides a solution to data fragmentation and a lack of trust across global agri-supply chains, with easy and affordable digital tools to validate supply chain claims and lend to farmers.
Geora is a blockchain platform built for agriculture, with an API and application layer offering all agri-supply chain participants access to the best of emerging technology. Through a single online platform, Geora’s standard workflows allow traders and agribusinesses to integrate data, value agricultural produce and finance farmers.
In the Seed to Feed project, Geora will be using its blockchain to provide traceability throughout the process of the soybean’s journey.
Proseed’s mission is to provide great seed at a reasonable price and to have fun doing it. Our goal is to provide programs, products, technology, and value to make our dealers and their growers as profitable as they can be.
VeriGrain is a unique new tool that helps growers get optimal prices for their grain by providing more accurate and detailed grain quality and quantity information. The VeriGrain app tracks grain as it is sampled when loaded into or out of storage and streamlines interaction with analytics labs and grain buyers.
About Northern Crops Institute
Northern Crops Institute (NCI) is a collaborative effort among Minnesota, Montana, North Dakota, and South Dakota to support the promotion and market development of crops grown in this four-state region. NCI is an international meeting and learning center that brings together customers, commodity traders, technical experts, and processors for discussion, education, and technical services. Situated on the campus of North Dakota State University, in Fargo, North Dakota, USA, this unique facility is only minutes from the farm fields that yield much of the world’s food.
NCI’s mission is to support regional agriculture and value-added processing by conducting educational and technical programs that expand and maintain domestic and international markets for northern grown crops.
Bushel is an independently owned software company and leading provider of software technology solutions for growers, grain buyers, ag retailers, protein producers and food companies, headquartered in Fargo, N.D. Since launching in 2017, Bushel’s platform has grown rapidly, now powering nearly 2,000 grain facilities across the U.S. and Canada with real-time business information for their producers. Monthly, 60,000 producers utilize Bushel products and services. Bushel is focused on bringing innovative software products and solutions to the agriculture industry. Data privacy is a cornerstone of Bushel’s philosophy. Read here Bushel’s Data Ethos.
Bushel is focused on bringing innovative software products and solutions to the agriculture industry, with 2,000+ grain facilities aboard Bushel’s platform and 60,000 producers monthly utilizing Bushel products and services. Bushel’s vision is to connect the grain industry through digital infrastructure.
Seed to Feed to the Future
For production stage partners like Proseed, being part of projects like this helps them stay at the forefront of agtech.
“If we can be early adopters to something that’s good and benefits our customers, in my opinion, we’re perceived as a better company in the dealer and farmer’s eyes,” Proseed President Keith Peltier said. “The more you can verify where a seed is planted and where it goes, the more that benefits our customers. We liked the possibility of the project showing that value.”
The possibilities of the Seed to Feed project’s impact are not just local, but global. Already, leaders in agriculture from around the nation and world recognize North Dakota and the upper Midwest as a hub for ag innovation. Now, they are traveling to the Grand Farm to see what Fargo has to offer. What are the possibilities of this 5-acre plot of land? The soybeans may be 0.1 inch in the dirt, but the possibilities of what this could become are as wide as a North Dakota sky.
Follow along with the life of a soybean at seedtofeed.info, on social media @ genesisfeedtech, and in future Future Farmer issues where we’ll be sharing updates and a deeper look at the project.