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Soy’s Year In Review

What a year. There were hurricanes and drought. A presidential election and the summer Olympics. This year also marked the 20th anniversary of the United Soybean Board, and the first time a woman served as its chair.

Despite all the changes and milestones, the soy checkoff’s hard work promoting U.S. soy around the world remains constant throughout the years. Here is a look at five things that summarize the year in soy.

1. Smartphones
These machines have made checking email and talking to business associates a breeze. Now, they’re taking on farming. A quick search will yield thousands of apps you can download and use to help around the farm. The checkoff helped design the Extreme Beans app, which provides farmers with two calculators to help plan for the next year’s crop. Download the app by searching “Extreme Beans” in your smartphone app store or check it out online

 2. Bacon
A reported bacon shortage took the nation by storm in September 2012. These reports reinforced the importance of the animal ag sector, both for the national economy and for U.S. soybean farmers.  Animals eat nearly 98 percent of U.S. soy meal. And according to the 2012 Animal Agriculture Economic Study, the animal ag sector added $333 billion in total economic output in 2011. The reports about a bacon shortage turned out to be exaggerated. According to the October World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates, pigs experienced a small population decline in June-August as farmers decreased farrowings, but the USDA believes the steady increase in the number of pigs born in each litter will compensate for most of the decline.

3. Potato chips
We all love them. We all eat them. And now the checkoff wants to help make them better for you while adding to U.S. soy oil’s market share. USB farmer-leaders recently approved a partnership with Dupont Pioneer and Monsanto to grow the availability of a healthier soy oil by accelerating the market development of high-oleic soybeans. The partnership hopes to make high-oleic soybean varieties available to grow on 80 percent of U.S. soybean acres by 2020. What’s so great about high-oleic soy? Check out this video to find out.

4. Paintballs

Soy keeps popping up in the most unexpected, exciting places. Paintballs are no exception. Real Action Paintball Inc. (RAP4) recently launched Eco Friendly Field Paintballs, a line of ammunition for the popular pastime that replaces a portion of traditional paintball fill material with U.S. soy oil. Office furniture, insulation and tires are just a few of the new ways soy was used in 2012. New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg also signed a law requiring all heating oil bought in the big apple to contain at least 2 percent biodiesel.

 5. Mississippi River

International demand for U.S. soy remains strong, but this year’s drought exposed another weakness in the transportation system farmers use to ship their crop. The drought left water levels along the Mississippi low, and with few water management techniques available, traffic on the critical river route between St. Louis and Cairo, Ill. slowed. The effects of the drought as well as the need to improve the U.S. transportation infrastructure will likely continue into 2013 and beyond.


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