What does foam that keeps floors from squeaking have in common with NASCAR racing tires? Both contain soybean oil. Both are on the list of 33 new products commercialized in 2014 with soy checkoff support. And both are driving demand for U.S. soybeans.
More than 800 soy-based products have been developed with checkoff support since 1990, including money from Alabama farmers. Alabama Farmers Federation’s Carla Hornady said she expects more soy-based product development in the future.
“Some products, like biodiesel, are high-volume, but products like carpet backing, paint and concrete-release forms use smaller amounts of soy but are higher value,” said Hornady, Soybean, Cotton and Wheat & Feed Grains Division director. “The industrial market for products range from automotive to furniture manufacturers and keeps increasing and that keeps the demand for U.S. soy growing at home and abroad.”
Alabama farmers planted nearly a half million acres of soybeans this year, including almost 400 acres planted by Lawrence County farmer Dwight Landsdell of Town Creek.
Landsdell, a first-year member of the Federation’s State Soybean Committee, started farming six years ago. His first crop was 34 acres of soybeans. He’s expanded to corn, grain sorghum and wheat, but he said his favorite crop is soybeans.
“It’s surprising to me what all products are made from soybeans,” Landsdell said. “When I attended the Federation’s Commodity Organization meeting last February, we voted to fund a couple of research projects. I had always known checkoff money was deducted from the soybeans I sold, but that meeting was when it all made sense to me. The research we fund helps farmers grow more soybeans and helps find more uses for soybeans.”
Checkoff-funded research continues to pay dividends as manufacturers look for ways to displace industry standards like petroleum, latex, mineral oil and other materials in their products. Raw materials from sustainable soy provide environmental benefits and are proven to perform as well as the ingredients they replace in a wide range of products, at a comparable cost. In fact, some perform even better, according to a report from the United Soybean Board (USB).
The 70 farmer directors of USB oversee investments of the soy checkoff to maximize profit opportunities for all U.S. soybean farmers. Those volunteers, including Alabama’s Annie Dee of Pickens County, invest and leverage checkoff funds to increase the value of U.S. soy meal and oil.
For information on the USB, visit UnitedSoybean.org.