OK, so you know about soydiesel, the soy product that is helping to reduce our nation’s dependency on foreign oil supplies. It’s the only alternative fuel to pass Environmental Protection Agency testing specifications, and can be used with no engine or fuel system modifications.

And you know, too, about soy-based printing inks, now used by a third of the nation’s newspapers and more than 90 percent of daily newspapers with more than 1,500 circulation. These inks are more environmentally friendly than petroleum-based inks, and paper printed with soy ink can be more effectively recycled.

You may even be aware of soy candles, which come in literally hundreds of sizes, shapes, and scents, and are said to burn cleaner than traditional candles, with no sooty residues.

Or you might have eaten Soynuts, roasted soybeans offered in 15 different flavors.

But how about soy-based shampoos, hair sprays, conditioners, styling gels, moisturizers, and dozens of other hair/personal care products? Yep, you can buy ’em.

And would you believe…socks made from SoySilk fabric, an environmentally friendly fiber that’s said to feel like cashmere and is made from remnants of the tofu manufacturing process? The same fiber is used to make Tofu Bears, soft, cuddly Teddy Bear alternatives.

Want a soy-based bed liner for your pickup truck, or fire logs made from soy products and switchgrass?

These and hundreds of more soy products are demonstrating in the marketplace the versatility of the crop that a few decades ago was grown chiefly for forage and even today is thought of by the consumer public mostly as livestock feed and cooking oil.

With the sky-high price of petroleum-based products nowadays, consumers and businesses are looking for alternatives, and in many cases, they’re finding soy products can do the job.

All are a source of pride and accomplishment for America’s soybean growers, who have, through their checkoff contributions, funded research and development programs that have helped find new uses for their crop, including a myriad of ways for replacing foreign petroleum.

“U.S. soybean farmers are committed to supporting research and development to drive demand for our soybeans,” says Todd Allen, West Memphis, Ark., producer who is chairman of the United Soybean Board’s New Uses Committee. Examples of soy-based products funded wholly or partially by USB checkoff funds include:

• Natural soybean oil-based waterproofing for low-slope roofing assemblies. It’s non-toxic, has superior ultraviolet resistance, and stain/mildew/mold resistance.

• Soy-based waterproofing solutions for masonry, concrete, and other projects involving large surfaces.

• Non-toxic carpet/upholstery cleaners that fight bacteria and allergens and have no harmful additives.

• Interior and exterior cleaners that are environmentally friendly, safe on skin, are non-toxic/biodegradable, and are created from renewable resources.

• BEAN-e-doo, the only bio-based mastic remover to pass both performance and environmental safety tests of the U.S. Postal Service for use nationwide for removal of asbestos-containing materials.

• Unique soy-based adhesives for use in the lumber industry. One, PRF/Soy 2000, gels almost instantly and forms a bond that is stronger than wood itself, in addition to being waterproof, boil-proof, and insect-proof.

You can see an extensive list at http://www.unitedsoybean.org/newuses.

e-mail: hbrandon@farmpress.com