Stepping Into the Future with U.S. Soybeans

A large American flag waves in the wind at a farm festival.

The soy checkoff works to ensure your dollars are put to good use for innovations within the soybean industry, with new uses being an exciting area of focus. With nonfood uses ranging from soy-based asphalt and Goodyear® tires to Skechers® shoes and PoreShield™, there are over 1,000 soy-based products available on the market today. With the consistency of these new, nonfood soy products available in the market, U.S. soybean farmers are continuously having tremendous wins — with your checkoff supporting you along the way.

With the support of the soy checkoff, critical research has inspired manufacturers in wide-ranging industries to make the switch from petroleum to soybean oil. New research has shown that a biobased polymer with high oleic soybean oil as a binding agent performs better than traditional asphalt binders and is also more cost efficient. With the increase in farmers planting high oleic soybeans, more people are discovering the usefulness of this soybean variety and its implications for a range of products, including asphalt.

The checkoff continues to be a leader through research and development of how soybean oil can be utilized for a variety of nonfood products. For example, this past August soy-based asphalt was used and installed at the 2022 Farm Progress Show in Boone, Iowa.

U.S. soybean farmers had the opportunity to experience the value of their soy checkoff investments in research and development firsthand by seeing this asphalt installed on-site. April Hemmes, USB director and soybean farmer from Hampton, Iowa, was in attendance and provided her perspective on seeing the soy-based asphalt.

“Being at Farm Progress Show this year was incredible. It was in Iowa this year, my home state, which made it even better to showcase soy there,” Hemmes said. “They did such a good job showcasing the asphalt. It was so nice to not be walking on wood chips and be on a level surface, all while knowing U.S. soybean farmers were the backbone to this installation.”

The soy-based asphalt surface demonstrates the versatility of U.S. soybeans and the checkoff’s ability to develop sustainable products. The binding agent, developed with high oleic soybean oil, increases the asphalt’s durability and offers a longer lasting alternative to traditional binders.

“To have a crop that can be so versatile and showcase the many uses of it — not just raising it and having it out in the field to look at but seeing the end result on how soy oil can be used — is such a great story to tell,” Hemmes said.

Your checkoff dollars have pioneered the development of many new uses of soy. This installation of soy-based asphalt is just another example of how your soy checkoff is working for you.

“Looking for new uses is always one thing the checkoff works toward,” Hemmes said. “There are so many applications where soy oil can be the replacement for petroleum. The sky’s the limit on a lot of that. With soy oil in over 1,000 products, it is an exciting time in the soybean world.”

In addition to soy-based asphalt, soy is used in tires, shoes and many other products that are on the market today. Farmers can find their products in the streets they drive on, the shoes they wear and the biofuels for their vehicles. The possibilities for soy are endless.

“With farmers telling their story on how we sustainably raise our soybeans, it carries on through to the products that are made from soy,” Hemmes said. “It really has a big impact because many consumers are looking for that now when reading labels on products in the stores, especially the younger generation. They are looking for products that are made sustainably, and we have a great story to tell there.”

Farmers make a difference across our nation and around the world, and the future is bright for U.S. Soy and soy farmers. You enable tremendous wins with your soy checkoff dollars.

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