Soybeans

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Associations

SOYBEANS are primarily grown for oil production and as a protein source for livestock feed. However, the versatility of this commodity is unequalled. Soybean oil is primarily used for shortening, margarine and salad oils, but is also utilized in many other products including mayonnaise, salad dressings and sauces, frozen foods, baking mixes and soups. Soybean oil dominates the U.S. market (over 70%) because of its wide availability and lowest cost in relation to other vegetable oils. This is a remarkably successful example of a value-added commodity because soybean oil was once considered an inedible oil derived as a by-product of protein production. The lecithin from the oil is used in baked goods, candies, chocolate, cocoa, and for pharmaceutical purposes. Soybean cake and meal are the major high protein supplements used in mixed feed ration for livestock. Other protein products manufactured from soybeans include texturized proteins which resemble meat, edible films, infant formulas, tofu, and soymilk. Nonfood (technical) uses of soybeans include anti-corrosion agents, disinfectants, dust control agents, epoxies and paints, printing inks, adhesives, particle board, plastics and polyesters, etc. New soybean varieties tailored to meet the demands of specific industries are expected to account for a greater share of the market in the future.