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Jack Leslie, Upper Sandusky, Ohio, raises high-oleic soybeans as a new income source for the family farm. "We think it is a good fit for our operation. It adds extra dollars to the business and is another income stream," he says. "It helps me stay competitive, because you either expand and try new things or you fall behind."
Other added benefits: Leslie says he doesn't have to wait in line to deliver soybeans at harvest. He pulls up to a segregated area at a local co-op and dumps the load. In addition to a 60-cent premium, he gets a rebate on his chemical program for planting Vistive Gold varieties.
Special handling practices
Since high-oleic soybeans must be segregated, companies offer the 50-60 cent per bushel premium. Vistive Gold growers also receive a stewardship bonus for 2014 production only.
"As we wait for global approvals, added segregation steps are needed on the farm," says Vacek, "including allowing Monsanto onto farms, planting buffers and attending mandatory meetings."
Those extra steps are pretty manageable, says Jack Leslie, who farms near Upper Sandusky, Ohio. He has planted Vistive Gold soybeans for two seasons, with plans for next year as well.
"We had no extra out-of-pocket cost, it just took a little extra time to go through and make sure everything was cleaned out from planting through delivery," he says. "Our yield averages were just slightly higher than commodity soybeans, so the premium was a plus for us."
Kirkpatrick agrees added steps are no trouble. He spent a few extra minutes to clean out the planter, combine and auger to preserve identity. It just takes a little time to make sure your equipment is clean."
Stevens was surprised the process is not more complex. "We will continue to grow them. They work well in our rotation and we are only five miles from the processor," he says.
Sanders encourages interested farmers to talk to their local seed representative and learn what is required before signing a contract. "The program continues to evolve, so know what all you need to do to be successful in the market," he says. "This is a tremendous opportunity."