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Soybeans are big business in Iowa

By Staff | Sep 26, 2019

Nobody knows exactly how long humans have cultivated the soybean, but agricultural historians are quite certain its domestication as a crop in China dates back three millennia. There are actually Chinese records documenting soybean growth as far back as the 11th century. There is some disagreement about who first introduced soybeans into North America, but researchers seem to agree that by the 1760s soybean seed had reached Georgia.

Whatever the origin, few would dispute that in the 21st century soybean cultivation is important to the world as a food source and a great deal more. Food, health products, biodiesel and printer ink are among the more important uses of this versatile bean. As just one example, Farm News uses color soy ink to print every issue.

Iowa is ranked second in the nation in soybean production. The Iowa Soybean Association estimates that soybean farmers contribute about $5 billion to the Hawkeye State’s economy each year.

Iowa’s farmers account for 14.5 percent of the nation’s annual soybean production and nearly 42,000 Iowa farmers grow soybeans.

Iowa’s renewable fuels industry has great potential. Soybean farmers are of vital importance to the biodiesel sector of that evolving economic sector. Iowa’s status as a leader in soybean growth has positioned it to be at the very heart of biodiesel production. According to the Iowa Renewable Fuels Association, Iowa produced a record-breaking 365 million gallons of biodiesel in 2018.

Soybeans and the farmers who grow them are key components of Iowa’s economic game plan for 21st-century prosperity.

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