As one of Kentucky’s cash crops, soybeans have a significant role in the economy of the state! Soybean oil which comes from 20% of the bean is sold as vegetable oil and is the most frequently consumed oil in the United States. Soybean protein, which constitutes 40% of the bean, can be found in animal feed, food products and hundreds of industrial uses. The hulls, or outer shell, are used in dairy feed and water purification research.
Surprisingly, soybeans are not native to Kentucky or even the Midwest. They made their debut in America in the early 1800s as ballast aboard a clipper ship from China. Today this renewable resource can be found in hundreds of products every day. The soybean is sometimes called the “Miracle Bean” because of its many uses. Its high protein content makes it a healthy choice for both humans and other animals. It is the only bean with complete protein. In addition, soybeans or soy products can be found as:
- the protective coating on CDs.
- the ink base for over 80,000 newspapers in the country.
- an ingredient in some crayons.
- lecithin, a main ingredient in cooking spray, also helps to keep chocolate smooth and creamy.
- biodiesel fuel. This fuel is being sold for use in truck and bus fleets, boats and lawn equipment.
- vegetable oil used in many homes and fast food restaurants.
- building materials used for counter tops and flooring.
- an ingredient in infant formula.
- ingredients in sunscreen, lip balm, hand lotion and other make-up products.
The Kentucky Soybean Board promotes and supports new uses for soybeans in addition to continued research for plant development. Applied science has been responsible for transforming the amazing soybean into a multitude of helpful, environmentally friendly products.