Year after year, the United Soybean Board and the soybean checkoff have helped build new demand for U.S. soybeans through news uses — and last year was no different. A recorded total of 81.8 million bushels were utilized in soy-based products in 2005, which was an increase of 12.6 million bushels from 2004.

From soy-based plastics used in tractors to transformer fluids made from soybean oil, the soybean checkoff continues to help manufacturers introduce new markets for soybean farmers.

Nineteen new soy-based products were commercialized in 2005, thanks to the support of the soybean checkoff. USB funds the development of soy technology by universities and research facilities across the country and continue to gain access to new markets, including plastics, lubricants, solvents and others.

“We are forecasting a record of over 90 million bushels of soybeans used in industrial products this year and nobody has a bigger stake in new markets for soybean farmers,” says Todd Allen, chair of USB's New Uses Committee and a soybean farmer from West Memphis, Ark.

“That's why the soybean checkoff is so committed to working with industry to develop new uses. We can't do it alone, but we can certainly show some of the biggest manufacturers out there how soy-based technology can benefit them.”

Among the variety of new products introduced this year is an innovative soy-based resin system that is being used in a variety of applications. Ashland Specialty Chemical Company's Envirez soy-based resin is used in making soft and rigid plastics. Examples include a newly formulated low-profile thermoset sheet-molding compound from John Deere and Case New Holland for tractor hoods and covers; GPI's use of Envirez in filament-wound tanks; Fabri Glass' use of this special resin in vacuum bags, and Permay's spray application for painting and packaging large parts.

Other companies have stepped to the forefront of engineered soy-based products. Cooper Power Systems and Cargill Industrial Oils and Lubricants created Envirotemp FR3 Fluid, an electric power transformer fluid. More than 10 electric co-ops around the country have picked up on this technology, allowing soybean oil to help power rural communities and farms.

BioSpan Technologies developed two unique specialty products: Activate, a methyl soyate asphalt activator and Replay, a methyl soyate pavement restorer. These products are being used by state departments of transportation in the Midwest.

Other notable innovations include Green Products Inc.'s Agri Seal, a soy-based caulking compound, and Oregon State University's soy flour with Kymene, which is a paste resin for plywood, developed with the assistance of Cargill, Hercules Inc. and Columbia Forest Products. Additional soy-based technology includes the following products:

  • Agrol by BioBased Technologies — a variety of flexible and rigid foam applications.
  • Soyol by Urethane Soy Systems Company — a chemical in plastic formulations that creates
  • Emulsified Oil Substrate by Solutions-IES, Inc. — a product that cleans contaminated groundwater.
  • Purrge by Cesco Solutions — a recycled paper pulp cleaner.
  • Soyfast Soy Technologies — a general purpose cleaner concentrate.
  • Soygreen 5000 by Soy Technologies — a parts cleaner concentrate.
  • Soygreen 6000 by Soy Technologies — an adhesive remover.
  • Soy Stop by Soy Technologies — a graffiti-remover system.
  • Environmental Liquid Membrane System, or ELMS, Natural Metal Jacket by Green Products Inc. — a soy-based metal coating.

“I am excited to think about where soybean checkoff-funded technology will take us in the future,” says Allen. “With soybean farmers working with industry partners to build new markets, we can build new markets for our soybeans and increase the demand for our soybeans, all through our soybean checkoff.”

USB is made up of 64 farmer-directors who oversee the investments of the soybean checkoff on behalf of all U.S. soybean farmers. Checkoff funds are invested in the areas of animal utilization, human utilization, industrial utilization, industry relations, market access and supply.