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Serving: IA

Seed Firms Courting Low-Lin Soybean Growers

Trans fat focus is increasing demand for healthier cooking oil; farmers who grow low-linolenic soybeans are getting higher price premiums.

Based at Winfield in southeast Iowa, Asoyia LLC is in its third year of business. The farmer-owned soybean operation was started several years ago by about two dozen farmers who still own stock in it. For 2007 Asoyia is expanding its operation for growers to participate in the company's farmer-owned business.

Farmers who join in the program and grow low-linolenic soybean varieties can expect greater premiums, more seed variety and the opportunity to capitalize on the desire by consumers to have healthier foods.

"This country's focus on eliminating trans fats in restaurant and packaged foods has created a large market opportunity for us," says Asoyia CEO Greg Keeley. "As a result, we are seeking more growers than ever before to join us, and in the process enjoy the industry's most aggressive per bushel premiums."

Farmer-owned firm pays bonus for beans

Asoyia produces a highly stable trans fat free cooking oil from 1% ultra low linolenic acid soybeans. Asoyia's high-yielding non-GMO seed varieties continue to be available, as well as a new line of Roundup Ready soybeans that have just been introduced, says Keeley.

"As a farmer-owned company, Asoyia focuses tremendous ongoing effort on seed development, and all of our products have genetics from the most progressive germplasm sources in the seed industry today," says Brett Maxwell, vice president of operations for Asoyia's seed business. "Growers joining our program receive support throughout the growing season, realize excellent yields, and are paid some of the highest premiums around."

"Asoyia is absolutely committed to rewarding growers for their value-added work," says Keeley. The low-linolenic beans need to be identity preserved. That is, they need to be handled and stored separately from commodity soybeans. Bins, combines, wagons, trucks and augers all need to be thoroughly cleaned before putting low-lin beans into them.

Highest premiums paid to growers

Growers of the Asoyia non-GMO beans will receive a stacked $1 premium upon delivery of the beans, which include premiums from both the protein and oil produced from the beans. Farmers who grow its Roundup Ready soybeans will receive a 45-cent-per-bushel premium.

Growers receive additional support from Asoyia's work with Valent to maximize profits per acre through its herbicide program for non-GMO seeds. In addition, Asoyia growers participate in a heralded identity preservation program that contributes to bottom line profitability. All seed varieties have the ability to be treated with Trilex Advanced Seed Treatment Technology from Bayer CropScience to protect against seedling diseases and improve emergence.

Asoyia's soybeans are crushed into Asoyia's Ultra Low Lin Soybean Oil. This trans fat free oil gives cooks and food processors the taste, performance, and shelf life they seek in substitution for partially hydrogenated soybean oil, which contains trans fatty acids. Trans fats have been scientifically linked with increases in 'bad' cholesterol and have been targeted for elimination and identification by consumer groups and governments.

Trend to healthier food helps farmers

The U.S. Food & Drug Administration now requires food manufacturers to list the amount of trans fats on all food labels. The New York City Board of Health a couple weeks ago approved a ban on all trans fats in city restaurants by 2008, and other jurisdictions throughout the country are considering similar measures. Even without these requirements, the food industry is converting to trans fat free cooking, and many have turned to Asoyia as a new cooking oil.

"The demand for Asoyia started strong and continues to grow beyond our expectations," says Rich Lineback, Asoyia's vice president of sales and marketing. "We're already receiving orders for oil that will be produced from next year's crop." Restaurant chains including Diamond Dave's, Maid Rite, Heart of America, Pizza Ranch, and Houlihan's join a long list of other restaurants, colleges, and hospitals throughout the Midwest that have switched to Asoyia. Several major food processors already have products on the shelf made with Asoyia soybean oil, and many others around the country are testing Asoyia in a broad array of applications including cookies, crackers and baked goods.

Small group meetings are currently being held for interested growers to learn more. For more information, visit the Asoyia Web site at www.asoyia.com or contact the office directly at (319) 257-3400. Monsanto and Pioneer are two other companies that are increasing the amount of low-lin soybean acreage to be planted with their soybean varieties. For information about Monsanto's Vistive soybean varieties and contract offers for growers, or Pioneer's low-lin bean varieties and grower contracts, go to www.monsanto.com or www.pioneer.com.

TAGS: Soybeans
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