Michigan soybeans touch everyday lives

Look in your pantry, refrigerator, medicine cabinet, garage or barn and odds are that you will find several soybean-derived products

According to the United States Department of Agriculture’s Research Service, soybeans ranked among the top five Michigan agriculture commodities in 2009. In fact, they rank third in value of receipts, following dairy products (#1) and corn (#2) and just ahead of Greenhouse/nursery and cattle and calves (#4 and 5 respectively).

A July 2011 publication by the Michigan Soybean Promotion Committee (MSPC) indicates that soybeans have a total economic impact of more than $1.5 billion dollars in Michigan. The report also states that nearly 2 million acres of soybeans are planted annually in the state by only 19% of Michigan’s farmers. When compared to 31 other soybean producing states, Michigan ranks 12th in the nation for its soybean production. The four page report is available at: http://www.michigansoybean.org/MSPCSite/2011EconomicReport.pdf

According to the MSPC, soy was introduced in the United States in 1765 where it was grown for hay. Today, nearly all the Michigan grown soybeans are processed into crude soybean oil and soybean meal. With further refinement, the crude oil can be processed into cooking and salad oils and industrial products. Soybean meal is fed to livestock and other small animals. In fact, a 60 pound bushel of soybeans breaks down into 11 pounds of soybean oil and 44 pounds of meal. All but 1% of the meal is used as livestock feed and nearly 88% of the oil is used for human consumption.

Hundreds of soy-containing products, edible and not-edible, are available for consumers including, but not limited to: hair care, waxes, paint and paint strippers, cleaners, inks and toners, candles, crayons, building products, auto care, biodiesel, cooking oil, tofu, soy nuts, milk and flour. A comprehensive list of non-edible products and uses of the soybean is available at the United Soybean Board’s website: www.soynewuses.org. A glance at this list and a look in the pantry will reinforce the idea that soybeans do indeed touch everyday lives.

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