Hundreds of spectators at Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex in Florida are looking up to the skies as they gather to marvel at rocket launches. Now their earth-bound feet are resting on a sustainable solution—artificial grass made with oil from soybeans grown in U.S. soil–that stands up to the heavy foot traffic demands of the rocket-watching crowds.

The seeds for this decision to cover the spectator area, a spot larger than four basketball courts, with soy-biobased turf are rooted in Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex’s 2015 Earth Day. The United Soybean Board (USB) and biobased manufacturer SYNLawn joined the 2015 educational program to participate in discussions about how to enhance the sustainability of the facilities. Staffs were interested in the science and sustainability of U.S. soybean oil as a rapidly renewable material to displace petroleum in SYNLawn’s products.

“Innovation and agriculture grew together at Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex with their installation of SYNLawn’s soy-backed grass,” said USB Director John Dodson, a Tennessee soybean grower who participated in the original Earth Day discussions. “The choice makes sense for both visitors and the environment. Approximately 570,000 U.S. farmers are growing soybeans each year, and our crop offers an abundant supply of food and feed as well as a rapidly renewable ingredient for products like SYNLawn’s grass.”

“At SYNLawn, we are so proud to be such a large consumer of soybean oil created from U.S. soybean farmers’ harvests,” said George Neagle, executive vice president, SYNLawn. “This project brings awareness to these amazing technological advancements that help provide a natural looking, environmentally sustainable, durable artificial grass. At the same time, we are able to support the U.S. soybean farming industry, and the hardworking men and women who incorporate these renewable materials into the products at our Dalton, Georgia, manufacturing facility.”

Thanks to the biobased content, SYNLawn products, SYNAugustine 547 and SYNRenew are recognized as USDA Certified Biobased Products in the Department of Agriculture’s BioPreferred Program. SYNLawn’s EnviroLoc™ backing replaces up to 60 percent of petroleum-based polymers with biobased materials, including soybean oil.  The grass is 100 % recyclable, made in America and conserves water.

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U.S. soybean farmers have invested millions of dollars to research, test, and promote biobased products. Much of this work was done through the United Soybean Board (USB), which is composed of 73 U.S. soybean farmers appointed by the U.S. Secretary of Agriculture to invest soybean checkoff funds.