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St. Louis, MO, Research Triangle Park, NC, and Boise, ID – February 24, 2014 – Benson Hill Biosystems, an agricultural biotechnology company, and J.R. Simplot Company, one of the largest privately held food and agribusiness companies in the United States, today announced the launch of a pilot program to increase potato crop yield. The companies will work jointly to incorporate Benson Hill’s technology into commercial varieties of J.R. Simplot potatoes to increase photosynthetic efficiency.
“Simplot has demonstrated its leadership in the development of new potato varieties through the application of its Innate™ biotechnology to improve the quality and safety of this staple crop,” said Matthew Crisp, President and CEO of Benson Hill Biosystems. “Together we will further the economics and the sustainability of the potato crop for farmers by improving photosynthetic efficiency, which is an under-addressed opportunity to significantly increase crop yield potential. Potato is a particularly interesting crop for the application of Benson Hill technology, and we are delighted to be collaborating with the Simplot Plant Sciences team on this program.”
As the leading vegetable crop in the United States and as the world's fourth-largest food crop, the potato crop is an integral part of the global food supply. Climate change is impacting agriculture in general, but counterintuitively, potato plants have shown a decline in photosynthetic rate under elevated CO2 conditions. Potato cultivars with increased photosynthetic efficiency will not only show yield improvements under today’s atmospheric conditions, but will help to support farmers that may experience increased hardships as climate change aﬀects potato production longer-term.
“Innate™ potatoes significantly reduce bruise loss to farmers which leads to greater crop utilization and less post-harvest waste,” said Haven Baker, General Manager and Vice President of Simplot Plant Sciences. “As we look to further advance sustainability benefits by improving yield and nutrient uptake in future varieties of Innate™, we are excited to be working with Benson Hill, a recognized leader in utilizing biotechnology to improve photosynthetic efficiency in crop plants.”
About Benson Hill Biosystems Benson Hill Biosystems is an agricultural biotechnology company focused on the development of traits to increase intrinsic crop yield, principally by enhancing photosynthetic efficiency. The company employs an integrated, systems-based approach to trait discovery and validation, and has developed a robust pipeline of next-generation trait candidates. Benson Hill and its partners are dedicated to addressing the foremost challenge in sustainable production agriculture – boosting crop yields on existing acreage and with limited inputs. More information can be found at www.bensonhillbio.com.
About J.R. Simplot Company The J.R. Simplot Company, a privately held agribusiness firm headquartered in Boise, Idaho, proudly brings earth’s resources to life with an integrated portfolio that includes phosphate mining, fertilizer manufacturing, farming, ranching, cattle production, food processing, food brands, and other enterprises related to agriculture. Simplot’s major operations are located in the U.S., Canada, Mexico, Australia, New Zealand and China, with products marketed in more than 40 countries worldwide. For more information visit www.simplot.com.
| Potatotodd mocklerTom BrutnellBenson Hill Biosystems