–by Amanda Wanke
photos by Rolf Hagberg

Midwest Ag Enterprises (Marshall, Minn.) and TechMix (Stewart, Minn.) were named Ag Innovators of the Year this June. This award is given annually to an exceptionally innovative company that has successfully created a product or process using Minnesota’s agricultural commodities.

TechMix and Midwest Ag have partnered, with assistance from Minnesota Soybean and AURI, to address a long-standing problem in the livestock feed industry with an innovative solution. Historically, the high fiber and complex sugar content of soybean meal has kept it from being suitable feed for young pigs and other single-stomach animals. These two Minnesota companies collaborated to create a unique process that produces a high-protein, low-oligosaccharide feed ingredient, called NutriVance, from conventional soybean meal in order to create a soybean meal that is palatable for young and single-stomach animals.

In addition to producing this meal, the companies have found a way to ensure that the indigestible sugars, which make up about 30 percent of the conventional soybean meal, are not wasted when they are removed. Midwest Ag and TechMix have found a way to utilize those sugars in dairy or beef cattle rations.

“NutriVance is a ground-breaking product that creates a feed solution that is good for livestock and soybean producers alike,” says AURI Chairman Ron Obermoller. “They have been very aggressive about advancing the results of the research they worked on with AURI and moving that research to reality in the marketplace.”

The two companies are in the start-up phase of producing NutriVance at a plant in Galva, Iowa, and hope to have full production running in August. The new product will create jobs at the production plant and at the companies’ offices in Minnesota, and downstream will benefit many others including transportation and warehouse operators and soybean growers.

AURI helped with the development of NutriVance through:

  • Scientific lab assistance during the creation of the process and product;
  • Cost-share assistance, along with Minnesota Soybean, to fund research and development efforts; and
  • Innovation networking to connect TechMix and Midwest Ag with Minnesota Soybean, the United States Soybean Export Council and others who could help in this new venture.