The race is on for Purdue University teams to complete their projects in hopes of picking up some of that soybean and corn checkoff prize money. Another year of Student Soybean and Corn Product Innovation Competitions is nearing the home stretch. Ryan West, Director of New Uses at Indiana Soybean Alliance and Indiana Corn Marketing Council says there has been a strong turnout again this year and the products they are creating are quite varied.
“Some of the innovations that students are working on range from things that really interact with their daily life and their daily needs such as a cell phone, iPod, mp3 player type waterproofing system that could be a do it at home kind of a deal.”
Another idea involves computer circuitry that can be printed on a flexible backer.
“Personally I didn’t understand what that meant,” West said, “but the student team was thinking it could be imbedded in clothing, even, to have circuitry in clothing, or to make cameras or technical devices even smaller because you can roll that circuitry up and place it in a corner.”
Winners will be announced at the awards banquet on March 28, 2012, and first place prize money for both the soybean and corn categories is $20,000. The runner-up teams receive $10,000.
In 1994, the Indiana Soybean Alliance funded the first competition at Purdue University encouraging students to create innovative products using soybeans. The winner that year was the Soy crayons creation.
The Indiana Corn Marketing Council first sponsored its companion competition in 2009.
West looks at the contests as a three-legged stool. One leg is the need to truly find new uses for soybeans and corn. The contest is also one of the best ways to show farmers and others what checkoff dollars can accomplish. The third leg is the student development the contest promotes.
As West says, “You have to have all three of those legs, and when you do the stool works really well.”[audio:http://www.hoosieragtoday.com//wp-content/uploads//2012/02/moreinnovationsin2012.mp3|titles=Innovations for 2012 corn and soy contests]
Hear more in the full HAT interview with Ryan West:[audio:http://www.hoosieragtoday.com//wp-content/uploads//2012/02/RyanWest2012Preview.mp3|titles=Ryan West on 2012 competition]