Benson Hill Biosystems, a crop improvement company unlocking the natural genetic diversity of plants, and Beck’s, the largest independent, retail seed company in the United States are partnering to bring to market the first photosynthetic efficiency trait, enabling corn farmers to increase the yield, sustainability and profitability of their farms.
Sunlight is the critical natural input for food production, capturing and storing carbon as a source for all energy, but photosynthesis is highly inefficient. Increasing carbon capture by improving photosynthesis efficiency is recognized as an important opportunity to improve crop productivity and sustainability.
“For years, trait innovation has been largely limited to only the largest multinational companies. The goal of our product development and testing programs has always been to help farmers succeed by bringing them more choice and profitability,” said Kevin Cavanaugh, Director of Research at Beck’s. “We have been working with Benson Hill now for years and are convinced that this collaboration will allow us to open new channels for innovation and greater opportunity for our customers.”
Benson Hill has developed a robust pipeline of trait product candidates that improve crop photosynthetic efficiency, one of which has demonstrated significant yield increases in hybrid corn across three years of field trials in a broad range of environments and genetic backgrounds. Through its co-development and commercialization agreement, Beck’s and Benson Hill will advance a trait product candidate through the final stages of development and anticipate filing a regulatory dossier with the USDA by 2021.
“It’s encouraging to see companies tackling some of the most critical and challenging areas of crop improvement such as photosynthesis,” said David Ertl, Technology Commercialization Manager at the Iowa Corn Promotion Board. “Novel trait development research is important, but it is equally important that these trait developers partner with others in the seed industry to commercialize these traits and get them into the hands of farmers.”
The partnership is particularly timely given the unprecedented level of consolidation underway in the agriculture industry. Through true collaboration, the companies will combine their expertise in product development, testing, and commercialization to bring greater choice to farmers in the marketplace. The companies plan to broadly license this exciting technology to many seed corn companies so that all farmers will have the opportunity to increase corn yields.
When we started Benson Hill, we envisioned that the intersection of disciplines known as cloud biology could help address major challenges like improving photosynthesis,” said Matthew Crisp, CEO and co-founder of Benson Hill. “This outcome has since been demonstrated, and dedicated partners like Beck’s are now helping us define new channels to market for the resulting product opportunities.”
Beck’s is a family-owned and operated seed company that serves farmers in Indiana, Illinois, Ohio, Michigan, Kentucky, Tennessee, Iowa, Missouri, Minnesota, South Dakota, and Wisconsin. According to a recent media survey, Beck’s ranks as the sixth largest seed company in the United States and the only one in the top six that is family-owned, making Beck’s the largest retail, family-owned seed company in the United States. To learn more about Beck’s, please visit www.beckshybrids.com. Follow Beck’s on Twitter at www.twitter.com/BecksHybrids, like Beck’s on Facebook at www.facebook.com/BecksHybrids, or visit the Beck’s Blog at www.beckshybrids.com/blog.
About Benson Hill Biosystems
Benson Hill empowers innovators with a revolutionary crop design platform to develop healthier and more sustainable crops. Our CropOS™ platform combines machine learning and big data with genome editing and plant biology to drastically accelerate and simplify the product development process. More information can be found online at www.bensonhillbio.com. Follow us on Twitter at @BensonHillBio.
Beck’s is pleased to announce improved data flow and connectivity options with its secure, web-based precision ag tool, FARMserver. By offering farmers the capability to connect their MyJohnDeere, Raven SlingShot, and/or Precision Planting Field View accounts directly with their FARMserver account, users will have the ability to seamlessly transfer data between their FARMserver account and their planting or harvesting equipment.
Beck’s is pleased to announce the installation of two new solar energy systems at their headquarters in Atlanta, Ind. The power produced from the two, one-mega-watt systems will cover approximately 25 percent of Beck’s current electric costs and provide increased power efficiency for well over 30 years.
February 12, 2018
Atlanta, Indiana – Beck’s is pleased to announce the installation of two new solar energy systems at their headquarters in Atlanta, Ind. The power produced from the two, one-mega-watt systems will cover approximately 25 percent of Beck’s current electric costs and provide increased power efficiency for well over 30 years.
“When you think about it, farmers are in the business of capturing sunlight and converting it to energy,” said Sonny Beck, CEO of Beck’s. “By installing solar panels, we are taking that concept and applying it to our business of producing seed. One of our goals as farmers is to be good stewards of our resources, and these new solar panels are another way we will be able to do that.”
Beck’s partnered with Ag Technologies, Inc. of Rochester, Ind. to design and install the solar panel systems, which were completed in December of 2017. Each system is made up of 125 solar arrays and should produce approximately 1,600,000 kilowatt hours (kWh) of power per year. The SolarWorld panels were made in Oregon and include cutting edge features like cell circuit wiring, corner drains, and PERK cell construction.
Beck’s recently installed two new solar energy systems at their headquarters in Atlanta, Ind. Each system is made up of 125 solar arrays and should produce approximately 1,600,000 kilowatt hours (kWh) of power per year.
The solar panel systems also feature Ag Technologies’ patented SOLARCAM® stand and lock system, which allows the solar angle of the panels to be more quickly adjusted for maximum efficiency. With SOLARCAM, the angle of each array can be changed in under one minute without compromising the strength of the panels.
“Beck’s is the first seed company we have installed solar panels for so far,” said Jim Straeter, founder of Ag Technologies, Inc. “Working with the employees at Beck’s, and getting to know the Beck family, during this project has been great. There is truly a desire to be environmentally responsible at Beck’s, and we share that desire.”
Duke Energy, Beck's, Ag Technologies, and Omni Electric worked together to install the most cost effective and efficient system possible. The systems were installed under Duke Energy's "Net Metering" program where the excess energy produced goes to the grid and is applied as a credit toward monthly electric statements. The entire system efficiency includes Enphase microinverters, which provide for internet-based monitoring at the panel level. This greatly simplifies maintenance and reduces costs over the lifetime of the system.
“We have a long-term commitment to farmers and the local community,” Beck added. “This solar panel project will allow us to create renewable energy that will benefit both groups.”
Beck’s is a family-owned and operated seed company that serves farmers in Indiana, Illinois, Ohio, Michigan, Kentucky, Tennessee, Iowa, Missouri, Wisconsin, eastern South Dakota, and southern Minnesota. According to a recent media survey, Beck’s ranks as the sixth largest seed company in the United States and the only one in the top six that is family-owned, making Beck’s the largest retail, family-owned seed company in the United States. To learn more about Beck’s, please visit www.beckshybrids.com. Follow Beck’s Hybrids on Twitter at www.twitter.com/BecksHybrids, like Beck’s Hybrids on Facebook at www.facebook.com/BecksHybrids, or visit the Beck’s Blog at www.beckshybrids.com/blog.
SOLARCAM® is a registered trademark of Ag Technologies, Inc.
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Beck's Hybrids seed company provides high yield corn, soybeans, wheat and elite alfalfa. All seed products are protected by the Escalate™ yield enhancement system delivering higher yields, insect protection, improved stand, and seedling health. We give you access to every major supplier in the world, so you get the genetic diversity and trait protection you need from one company – Beck’s. A heritage built upon the hard work, faith and innovation of our family and family of employees.
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