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Thompson Coburn supports agricultural growth through the Center for Soybean Innovation

January 22, 2019

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A rendering of the Thompson Coburn Community Room at the Center for Soybean Innovation

Thompson Coburn is proud to announce our involvement in the Center for Soybean Innovation, an innovative new facility of the Missouri Soybean Merchandising Council (MSMC) that will provide a statewide center for education and research for soybeans, a sustainable, cost-efficient protein and energy source and a $2.5-billion-a-year crop in Missouri. 

The center is now under construction in Jefferson City, Missouri, with a planned opening for early 2020. As a part of the Firm’s five-year commitment to the project, the Center’s conference space will be named the Thompson Coburn Community Room. 

“Thompson Coburn’s partnership with the Center for Soybean Innovation is an extension of our total commitment to the thriving U.S. food and agricultural industry, as well as the dedicated farmers, researchers and innovators represented by the Missouri Soybean Merchandising Council,” said Thompson Coburn Chairman Tom Minogue

Said Todd Rowden, a Chicago partner with Thompson Coburn who serves as the relationship partner for MSMC, “We’re proud to support MSMC’s innovative work in the marketing, research and commercialization of soy products across the U.S. and in markets around the world. We look forward to the day in the very near future when members of our business and civic communities can gather at the Center of Soybean Innovation to learn, connect and continue the great work of our agricultural checkoff programs.”

When it opens, the Center for Soybean Innovation will be the new home of MSMC, the Missouri Soybean Association, the Foundation for Soy Innovation, the Biodiesel Coalition of Missouri and MSMC’s education and outreach organizations, Missouri Farmers Care and Ag Education on the Move. 

The building will feature soy-based building materials and demonstrate new uses for soybean, from soy-based countertops, flooring and insulation to turf, asphalt sealant and biodiesel/BioHeat. Other corporate partners that will be involved in the Center include Bayer, SynLawn and Sherwin-Williams. 

“We are grateful for this support for the mission and vision of the Missouri Soybean Merchandising Council and the Center for Soybean Innovation,” said Gary Wheeler, CEO and executive director for Missouri’s soybean organizations. “Thompson Coburn’s commitment to partnership and growing opportunities is evident, and this gift will directly impact our ability to connect people to the many ways soy impacts their lives – from business development and jobs to health and nutrition – now and well into the future.”

Thompson Coburn has represented MSMC in corporate, litigation, and intellectual property matters for more than five years. Beginning in 2015, the Firm helped MSMC patent and market a high-oleic (HO) soybean trait, an even healthier version of what is widely regarded as a food providing high amounts of protein and little fat. HO soybeans are currently in high demand; the food industry wants the healthy, shelf-stable oil properties of HO soybeans. Farmers also appreciate the variety’s strong yield and healthful traits: The first two commercially available conventional HO soybean varieties were released in 2018 in Indiana, Illinois, Kentucky, and Michigan.

Thompson Coburn also helped MSMC achieve a significant court victory in litigation with a former MSMC executive and alleged licensee who profited from suspect contracts for valuable soybean technologies. The $600,000 verdict from a Jackson County jury was affirmed by the Missouri Court of Appeals Western District in 2017.