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Slideshow: The Indiana Soybean Alliance’s soy innovation contest is reaping more benefits for producers and the environment.

Tom J Bechman 1, Editor, Indiana Prairie Farmer

April 21, 2022

12 Slides

Purdue University students unveiled 10 new potential uses for soybeans at the 28th annual Student Soybean Innovation Competition awards reception recently. It’s the longest-running program of its kind in the U.S., and it continues to reap invaluable benefits for Indiana soybean producers who invest money in the program.

Nate Mosier, head of the Purdue Department of Agricultural and Biological Engineering, told a large audience gathered to view the prototypes that 29 students grouped into 10 teams spent eight months proposing ideas, researching to make sure there were no patent issues, and developing their prototypes. Students even prepared marketing plans and then pitched their products to a panel of judges representing various facets of agriculture and industry.

Related: Student creativity alive and well when motivated

This unique contest has produced such winning ideas as soy crayons — an idea hatched in the very first year that soon found its way onto store shelves — as well as a wood varnish containing soybean oil and biodegradable soybean straws.

The Indiana Soybean Alliance sponsors a $20,000 cash award for first place, $10,000 for second and $5,000 for third, plus $500 for the People’s Choice Award, selected by those who attend the reception before the awards ceremony.

And the winners are …

Here’s a look at this year’s winners:

1st place. Team Smulch produced two products, an alternate to rubber mulch containing soybeans and a mat for playgrounds also containing soybeans.

“We looked for a need, and then figured out how we could develop a product to meet that need using soybeans,” Libby Plassard says. Her teammates include Ethan Miller and Zahul Cakir.

2nd place. The Brilliant Bean team developed an ink for dry erase boards that contains no alcohol. It’s comprised of 60% soybean products, using high-oleic soybeans and lecithin.

“We were gathered around the whiteboard brainstorming ideas, and we realized the idea was right in front of us,” Sarah Juffer says. “We realized there was a need for a more environmentally friendly marker for whiteboards.” Her teammates include Rob Bastian, Charlie Sebright and Josh Stephenson.

3rd place. Team Silm developed an agricultural film to replace petroleum-based films for gardeners and specialty crop producers. It’s biodegradable, but still strong enough to prevent weeds from germinating.

“We even made a film which includes impregnated fertilizer,” Young Choi explains. “We can make different thicknesses depending on what the customer needs.” His teammates include Loan Cao and Sophie Kwon.

People’s Choice. The crowd attending the awards reception were obviously coffee drinkers. They tapped Team Drip Drop as their favorite when all the votes were counted. This team developed coffee filters that result in less acid in your coffee, removing most of that acidic aftertaste.

Team members include Riley Garrison, Nikki Rytczak, Hari Thurumalai and Miriam Walker.

Check out the slideshow to see photos of all the contest entries.

About the Author(s)

Tom J Bechman 1

Editor, Indiana Prairie Farmer

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