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ZeaKal and Nutrien Ag Solutions Collaboration Cements More Sustainable, Healthy U.S. Soybean Supply Chain

San Diego, CA (July 12, 2023) – ZeaKal today announced a collaboration with Nutrien Ag Solutions, North America’s largest agricultural retailer, to support commercialization of ZeaKal’s novel photosynthesis trait technology for United States soybean growers, with the goal of creating higher value, more diversified and sustainable global soybean supply chain.
ZeaKal’s PhotoSeed™ trait technology increases photosynthetic capacity. In soybeans, the enhanced carbon capture has consistently resulted in improved oil and protein without compromising field yields benefiting every participant on the soybean supply chain, including farmers, soybean processors, food companies and ultimately the consumer.
“There is no question, the world needs a better soybean and the collaboration with Nutrien Ag Solutions brings us one step closer to that reality,” said Han Chen, ZeaKal CEO and Co-Founder. “Nutrien Ag Solutions is a critical piece of the puzzle for ZeaKal, growers and our other collaborators in fully realizing the potential of PhotoSeed. Together, we can accelerate and increase the depth of our product offering with flexible and customized agronomic solutions that protect the yield potential and value created through our genetics.”
Used for food, feed and fuel, soybeans are one of the planet’s most important agricultural crops with skyrocketing demand. U.S. growers currently contribute about one-third of the world supply. However, innovations to improve soybeans have often come at the cost of declining protein levels, as genetics focused on yield rather than nutritional density.
PhotoSeed soybeans flip the switch on deteriorating quality by boosting healthy oil and protein levels without sacrificing yield. Under the terms of the collaboration, Nutrien Ag Solutions will release ZeaKal-branded soybean seeds to U.S. growers in time for the 2024 growing season.
NUTRIEN AG SOLUTIONS COLLABORATION THE CULMINATION OF MULTI-YEAR, MULTI-COMPANY SUPPLY CHAIN HARMONIZATION
Today’s announcement completes the loop of ZeaKal’s “NewType” agriculture model, bringing multiple supply chain collaborators to the same table in a first-of-its-kind strategic collaboration that connects genetics in the field to the entire soybean value chain.
For Nutrien Ag Solutions, this collaboration exemplifies their commitment to offer growers more diversity in their soybean production practices and new income streams not tied solely to yield. Nutrien Ag Solutions will support growers with integrated agronomic services including flexible crop protection solutions customized for ZeaKal’s seed offering.
“To provide the most holistic offering of products, we seek opportunities with other companies that are creating innovative solutions,” said Rob Clayton, Senior Vice President of Nutrien Ag Solutions North America. “Working with ZeaKal, we will offer a new, high-quality soybean option. By understanding the needs of our growers, Nutrien Ag Solutions’ goal is to be the most Customer-Focused Agronomics Solution provider. We are very excited for our growers to experience ZeaKal-branded soybeans, with our other suite of complementary products.”
The Nutrien Ag Solutions collaboration is the latest essential piece in the puzzle of a “harmonized” soybean supply chain that ZeaKal is creating.
In 2021, ZeaKal signed a partnership agreement with Gro Alliance, one of North America’s largest independent soy and corn contract seed producers, ensuring locally produced seed that improves seed costs for growers. And in 2022 ZeaKal entered into a multi-year collaborative agreement with Perdue AgriBusiness, agreeing to purchase future PhotoSeed soybean harvest from growers. The Eastern seaboard’s largest soybean processor Perdue AgriBusiness is a subsidiary of Perdue farms, the fourth largest poultry producer in the U.S.
Additionally, in June 2023, ZeaKal entered into a licensing agreement with the Missouri Soybean Merchandising Council (MSMC) to combine ZeaKal’s PhotoSeed™ photosynthetic capabilities with MSMC’s patented SOYLEIC® soybean, an unique ‘high oleic’ soybean with multiple beneficial oil properties, generating premium prices for farmers.
THE WORLD’S GROWING APPETITE FOR SOY IS MULTI-FACETED
Current and predicted soybean bean demand is being driven by multiple supply chain factors, all of which are addressed by PhotoSeed soybeans. According to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) World Agricultural Outlook Board, 2023’s projected 391 million metric ton harvest will be the world’s largest soybean crop yet and the global soybean market is predicted to increase by 3.5% CAGR over the next five years.
  • Soybean oil currently makes up approximately 60 to 70% of vegetable-based feedstock for U.S. biofuels and the rapid ramp-up in U.S. renewable biodiesel demand is expected to grow soybean production an additional 20% by 2027.
  • Soybean meal, a co-product of soy processing, is the most important source of protein for animal feed. Dropping protein levels have meant more soybean meal consumption to meet livestock feed requirements, driving up costs and lowering livestock sustainability.
  • Soybean oil use is expected to increase as palm tree oil, currently the world’s most widely consumed vegetable oil, production declines.
  • Trans-fat free high-oleic soybean oil is healthier to consume and also works better in high-heat industrial uses, satisfying consumer and food industry needs while creating higher premiums for farmers and soybean processors. The United Soybean Board predicted an additional $3.8 billion in farmer revenue in 2023 through increased per-bushel prices paid for high oleic soybean harvest.
PhotoSeed soybeans contain 22 to 23% heart-healthy oil, versus 18 to 20% found in traditional commodity varieties, and two additional points of protein while also maintaining the high yields farmers and processors have come to expect with modern-day soybean genetics.
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