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The American Soybean: Food versus Fuel

2020 Iowa Soybean Harvest - Photo by Brent Barnett

The crops we produce in Iowa have many uses around the globe. Soybeans are no stranger to this. They are part of the food system and an essential ingredient in biodiesel, which is helpful in the fight against greenhouse gasses and beneficial to the environment. However, as technology has improved, we are finding even more uses for the soy oil that is extracted. It is becoming an interesting situation we are in for the use of the soybeans we grow.

Mac Marshall is the VP for Market Intelligence at the United Soybean Board. He talks about how versatile it is, and how the focus on the crush of soybeans has switched from meal to oil driving more of the marketplace.

Soy oil has found many uses in the transportation and infrastructure sectors. Whether it is in the tires that are on your car or the sealants on the road, soybeans are helping contribute to the quality of the very infrastructure they depend on to be profitable.

The talk out of Washington has been focused on the environment, and how biofuels can be a part of that solution. This has created more appreciation for the versatility of the soybean. It has also opened the food versus fuel debate, but Marshall says it doesn’t have to be one or the other. It isn’t food OR fuel, it’s food AND fuel.

The best part for soybean producers is that the research is still ongoing. There is still work being done to create even more uses for the soybeans you grow and drive up demand for your products.

You can learn more about the work being done by the United soybean board, by logging on to the United Soybean Board website.