ZeaKal today announced steps to create a ‘NewType’ of agriculture based on higher value and supply chain harmonization with the expansion of its Advisory Board and a partnership with Gro Alliance, the nation’s largest, independently owned contract seed corn and soybean seed production company.
“To meet the needs of today’s growers, producers, and consumers, we need a more equitable, resilient food system that prioritizes value over volume without overwhelming our planet,” said Han Chen, ZeaKal co-founder and CEO. “By building a NewType of agriculture that is more attuned to the end user, we can fully realize the value of our innovations and do our part to sustainably nourish the world’s growing population.”
As a first step, ZeaKal announced the expansion of its Advisory Board to ensure the right insights and leadership across the supply chain have a seat at the table. New advisors include Jim Schweigert, president of Gro Alliance and 2nd Vice Chair of American Seed Trade Association, and Gordon Denny, who served as director of procurement at Bunge and currently advises the United Soybean Board and U.S. Soybean Export Council.
“Together with current advisor Paul Schickler, Jim and Gordon will further enable ZeaKal to deliver value more nimbly across the supply chain and broaden our perspectives to ensure everyone wins,” said Chen. “We look forward to working with our Advisors to engage additional partners in this collaborative effort.”
Denny, who brings more than 40-years of soybean processing and grain industry experience, said, “Agriculture has seen significant innovation in the tools and technology farmers use, and yet important crops like soybeans have experienced year-over-year deterioration in quality and continue to experience a race to the bottom. I’m proud to be part of ZeaKal’s vision to share increased value across the entire system, while improving the health and environment for future generations.”
Gro Alliance partnership accelerates adoption of ZeaKal’s flagship plant trait, PhotoSeed™
To restore value across the soy supply chain, ZeaKal is building a closed loop U.S. system to capture and share premiums from better composition, processing advantages, and improved sustainability metrics with farmers and producers. With this initial partnership, Gro Alliance’s fully integrated seed production and distribution establishes a foothold with an experienced and dedicated grower base. This partnership underscores the need to diversify farmer incomes and address consumer demands for nutrient rich crops and sustainably sourced grain.
“For the past 80 years, we’ve helped growers access innovation to stay competitive, and yet the current system disincentivizes the adoption of new technologies that create value beyond just yield,” said Schweigert. “Through this partnership, we will help ZeaKal accelerate the adoption of PhotoSeed to enhance and diversify profitability for growers while building a stronger long-term soybean market in the U.S.”
Beyond Gro Alliance’s U.S. footprint spanning eight states from North Dakota to Indiana, its global operations provide ZeaKal with access to additional counter season seed expansion in Latin America. Soybeans with ZeaKal’s PhotoSeed trait will become available to U.S. farmers in the 2024 growing season.
“This partnership is the first step in building a community striving to grow nutritious food while improving the livelihoods of everyone along the supply chain,” said Chen. “Gro Alliance ensures that our NewType agriculture system starts with the farmer.”