McGraw in Melbourne: On the Road to New Collaborations
By Courtney Heiser
In April, Barry McGraw, Director of Product Research and Commercialization with the Ohio Soybean Council (OSC), had the opportunity to travel to Melbourne, Australia as a keynote speaker for the Crop Waste to Value Added Products Conference. This conference allowed commercial industry partners as well as university researchers to network and gain insight on biobased research.
During his presentation, McGraw discussed various research projects funded by OSC that have resulted in many new innovations. In addition, he was able to announce some of the projects that are currently underway.
To start, McGraw briefed his audience on what sets U.S. and, more specifically, Ohio soybeans apart from the competition. He explained that U.S. farmers are the most sustainable in the world and currently grow twice as much food as the previous generation. Specifically, annual soybean production in Ohio soars to nearly 250 million bushels which generates over $2.5 billion in revenue and over $5.3 billion in economic impact. In addition to the nearly 25,000 soybean farmers in Ohio, the industry employs an additional 10,000 workers across the state. McGraw also attested Ohio’s reliable supply of both commodity and specialty soybeans.
After capturing the audience’s curiosity with soybeans 101, McGraw eventually scaled up the conversation to allow companies and researchers to ask questions, make connections, and learn about opportunities to utilize or invest in research.
Diving into his key message, McGraw introduced the opportunity for the audience to collaborate and invest in projects with OSC. He stated that OSC invests in soy-based product development to create additional markets and add value for soybeans. He called the audience to action as he explained he was actively looking for new partnerships and collaborations.
McGraw gave brief, yet informative backgrounds on projects and success stories that resulted from previous collaborations.
Below is a list highlighting several award-winning projects funded by the Ohio Soybean Council:
EnzoMeal: An improved soybean meal that removes oligosaccharides and increases crude protein. EnzoMeal represents a breakthrough product for use in commercially derived feed in a high value, well-recognized aquaculture species such as rainbow trout. EnzoMeal provides aquaculture farmers a sustainable, long-term, economically viable healthy solution. The product also received a 2017 R&D 100 Gold Special Recognition Award.
Roof Maxx: A USDA Certified Biobased Product, Roof Maxx is an earth-friendly, effective, and affordable alternative to roof replacement or the application of traditional roof sealants. The product uses Soy-Fusion Technology to extend the life of roofing shingles, reducing waste and conserving valuable resources — for a cost significantly lower than roof replacement. Roof Maxx received fourth place in the “Bio-based Material of the Year 2018” Innovation Awards.
Light Curable Coatings: OSC supported the development of a UVcured, high-performance, bio-preferred floor coating with no volatile organic compounds (VOCs). The clean, green soy-acrylate-based product delivers exceptionally low cure times and meets or exceeds industry targets for appearance, hardness, adhesion, solvent resistance, and application temperature. The technology won two R&D 100 Awards in November 2018.
OSC provides the research, but does not have the ability to commercially produce or brand a product. Therefore, OSC looks to collaborate with commercial companies. These companies help identify the wants and needs of their customer base which allows for a more successful product.
After his presentation, McGraw had the chance to connect and develop relationships with several companies to discuss plans to work together on several projects, including a soy-based coating for concrete molded roof tiles.
Overall, McGraw’s trip was successful: just one month after the trip, he has lined up several companies that are eager to work on future product developments.