Soybeans have always been sneaking their way into everything we do, from our plates and plastics to even our cars!
If you’re a dairy farmer, maybe plenish beans are a hot dinner table conversation. Plenish beans have been around for over a decade but are becoming more popular now because they are high in oleic acid, which is a monounsaturated oil. Plenish beans are boosting components in milk while also making the TMR very palatable. Check out this overview of a study showing how plenish beans boost components!
Plenish beans are hitting our tables too, as people claim that oleic acid helps your skin, mood, heart, brain and even your waistline! Other foods high in oleic acid like plenish beans are avocados, eggs and cheese. There’s even a company called Plenish that sells Soya M*lk, which is milk alternative from plenish beans.
But the feed bunks and the kitchen table aren’t the only places we are seeing soy: North Dakota is about to see it at the fuel pump. The Green Bison facility in North Dakota expects to be up and running at the end of the 2023 harvest season and will have the capacity to process 150,000 bushels (9 million pounds!) of soybeans a day.
Renewable diesel sounds too good to be true, but check out this article from the Alternative Fuels Data Center to read more on how renewable diesel is made — you may be soyprised!
With all these beans headed into renewable diesel, you would think that the U.S. would be planting beans like crazy, but the U.S. Department of Agriculture does not expect the country to increase soybean acres by too much. Soybeans are expensive, at an average of $14.70 a bushel, and may still be on the rise. Brazil and usually Argentina keep the U.S. humble when it comes to beans.
Brazil, according to many sources, is expected to harvest more than 20 percent more beans this year than last. So even though U.S. soybeans will be higher in demand, the price won’t budge much.
Plenish beans, renewable diesel, and competitions are making headlines this year, but this is not the first time soybeans have been in the limelight.
Going back several decades, Henry Ford actually incorporated the soybean into his assembly line.
Believe it or not, Ford thought so fondly of soybeans that he approached scientists to ask them to make a plastic out of them to be used in his cars. The durable plastic was used quite a bit for shifter knobs and other small plastic pieces. Eventually Ford was able to debut a car whose exterior was made of soybean plastic. He expected them to be all the rage, but World War II started, which put a damper on the car’s success.
The most interesting soybean story though, is one about the Salad Oil King. It centers on Tino DeAngelis, who swindled banks and the USDA and had lasting effects on Wall Street.
DeAngelis bought an old petroleum storage center and transformed it into Allied Crude Vegetable Oil Refining Corp. The plan was to buy unrefined oil, bring it to his plant in Bayonne, New Jersey, and sell it. DeAngelis was soon buying so much oil that the government couldn’t help but investigate. Every time he was penalized for something, DeAngelis would pay the fine and leave a tip.
However, his most profitable idea was to capsize his ships of cargo! DeAngelis would fill his shipping containers 90 percent with water while only topping them off with oil, they would pass inspection, be sent to sea, sunk, and DeAngelis would collect collateral on the oil he claimed to have been shipping. Because oil floats on water, the cargo inspectors didn’t realize that the containers were mostly full of water!
Soybeans have made many headlines throughout the years, sometimes they have paved the way to sturdier cars and higher producing cows, and apparently other times they have crashed Wall Street! Although I wonder what Henry Ford and the Salad Oil King would think today, I am happy with the progress we have made!
Elizabeth Maslyn is a born-and-raised dairy farmer from Upstate New York. Her passion for agriculture has driven her to share the stories of farmers with all consumers, and promote agriculture in everything she does. She works hard to increase food literacy in her community, and wants to share the stories of her local farmers.