Soybeans have been grown in the United States for more than two centuries; however, U.S. soy innovation continues through new soybean varieties, technology and soy-based products. Here are a few ways the U.S. soybean industry is innovating through each step of the value chain to bring added benefits to users of U.S. soy around the world.
High Oleic Soybeans
High oleic soybeans produce healthy, trans-fat-free oil that doesn’t need additives.1 Since its creation, high oleic has grown in use around the United States and according to the United Soybean Board (USB), high oleic soybeans have the potential to become the fourth-largest grain and oilseed crop in the U.S. Farmers now have the option to plant high oleic soybeans each season to contribute to meeting a new consumer demand that can benefit international customers looking for a more sustainable product for an increasingly health and environmentally conscious consumer.
Customers of U.S. soy buy meal and oil. That’s why protein and oil levels matter so much to end users around the world. Near Infrared technology (NIR) is one tool used by elevators and processors to evaluate the protein, oil and moisture levels of soy at the point of delivery from the field. In fact, processors use NIR today to evaluate and segregate soybean loads based on compositional characteristics. This enables them to deliver meal and oil products to end users meeting their specifications. The soy checkoff is working on other technological innovations to improve the current system to better meet the demand.
Biodiesel, a sustainable, environmentally-friendly fuel made from soybean oil, is one of the original success stories of soybean innovation in the marketplace.
“At the time [of its creation], there was a surplus of soybean oil,” says Gregg Fujan, USB Director and Nebraska farmer. “Today, we’re looking at ways to further increase biodiesel use in evolving engine and home technology.”.
Biodiesel has achieved such success because it uses the surplus oil that already exists from processing soybeans without sacrificing the soybean meal.
Bioheat, a biodiesel blended with traditional petroleum, is another pioneering development for soybean oil. Bioheat warms homes more sustainably than traditional heating oil. Large U.S. cities such as New York, are considering the future of bioheat.
According to the National Biodiesel Board, other countries have introduced initiatives to encourage biodiesel production and use through fiscal incentives and mandates or voluntary targets.