Goodness Grows In North Carolina
Soybean Outline


Association Name Commodity History Regional Information Production
Packaging Shipping Buying Nutritional Information

I. Association Name: North Carolina Soybean Producers Association

A. Commodity Represented
Soybeans

B. Types of Commodity
Not applicable

C. Is there a National Promotion Month for the Commodity? When?
No
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II. Commodity History

A. North Carolina Background
1. Is the crop originally from NC or did it originate elsewhere? Where?
The crop originated in China.

2. When was it brought to NC?
It was brought to the United States as ballast in marine vessels. Exact dates are uncertain, but the earliest references were dried soybean that were used as "coffee" during the Civil War.

3. How was it brought to NC and by whom?
It was brought to North Carolina in merchant ships as ballast from China

4. Was it brought to a specific region? Is this the same region in which it is now mainly grown?
It was first grown in the eastern/coastal region of the state. Even now, over 75% of soybeans are grown east of Interstate 95.

B. Uses
1. How is the product used?
Soybeans are used in almost countless ways:
Soybeans
eaten in natural form (green and dried)
Processed into other edible products such as tofu, soysauce, roasted soybeans, soy milk, imitation bacon, etc.

Oil Extracted From Beans
in foods--in baked foods, salad dressings, cooking oil, margarine, mayonnaise and shortenings
lubricant
dust suppressant
fuel (soydiesel/biodiesel)

Protein
nutritional enhancement for human consumption
feed rations for domesticated animals, fowl and fish

Miscellaneous
tires
pharmaceuticals
cosmetics
plastics
pharmaceuticals
glue
paint
non-toxic crayons

2. Has today's use changed from its original use?
Yes! More uses are developed every year!

3. If yes, how was it originally used and why was there a shift in use?
Originally soybeans were used just as a highly nutritious food. Now, though still a healthy eating choice, soybean's numerous health benefits are only now being realized. Also, many other uses were discovered and developed (and continue to be!). In fact, Henry Ford made an automobile body out of soybeans!

C. Industry Changes
1. How has technology changed the industry? What are some of these improvements/changes?
Improvements/Changes: better varieties, continuous new uses and products

2. How have the uses for the product changed over the years?
Soybeans have gone from primarily feed and food uses to an array of industrial and health uses.

3. Has consumption/use of the product increased/decreased? Why?
A growing population and a greater demand for healthy meat products have led to the development of imitation meat products using soybeans. An increased knowledge of health benefits and health conscious people have led to a greater consumption of soybeans as a healthy eating choice. Plus an increased demand for environmentally friendly industrial products has increased the use of soybeans in such products as biodiesel, glue, ink, etc.

D. Future Outlook
1. How is the industry changing currently?
Currently dramatic changes in bio-engineering have been taking place to develop soybean varieties to meet specific needs like higher protein/oil content; production improvements, etc.

2. Are there any future projects that would change how the industry is maintained?
Future projects will change how the soybean industry is maintained. Bio-engineering will change the inherent content of soybeans such as the bean's amino acid balance, oil stability and saturation, etc.

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III. Regional Information

A. Region
1. Where in the state is the commodity grown?
Soybeans may be grown in all but one of 100 counties. Dare County on the NC coast is the only county where soybeans are not grown.

2. If more than one location, where is it the most abundant? The least abundant?
Over 75% of soybeans are grown in the coastal region of the state; east of I-95. The least abundant of soybeans are produced in the mountains.

3. Why can't it be grown in another section of the state? Or why the difference in production from area to area?
Soybeans are mainly grown on the Coast due to larger farms and adaptability.

4. When is the growing season?
Summer

B. Climate
1. What kind of weather does the commodity like?
Soybeans like warm weather and lots of sun.

2. Is there a specific condition the commodity needs (full sun, shade, etc.)?
Soybeans need lots of sun and moderate amounts of rain. Soybeans can withstand dry weather better than many crops.

3. Are there ideal temperatures the commodity needs?
The ideal temperature for soybeans is 80-90 degrees Fahrenheit.

C. Soil
1. What type of soil works best with this commodity? Why? Is it rich in a specific nutrient, etc.?
Most NC soil can produce soybeans, however proper soil pH is mandatory.

2. Is there an ideal temperature for the soil?
Soil temperature is the same as most other summer crops.

3. Do certain soil conditions increase crop production? If yes, what are they?
The soil must be the proper pH and be fertile, meaning that it has the right nutrients to have things grow in it.

D. Weather Conditions
1. In emergency weather conditions what precautions are taken? Are precautions usually preventative (advance) or reactive (as it occurs)?
In emergency conditions, though there are very few, irrigation is helpful especially during drought.
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IV. Production

A. Production Steps
1. When are seeds planted?
Seeds are planted in late Spring, early Summer around May and June.

2. What is the estimated time before sprouts appear?
Usually it takes one week for seeds to sprout.

3. How long generally before the crop is ready to be harvested? (Not total time of season, but the actual length of time from when a crop is planted, germinates and is ready to be harvested)
In North Carolina, soybeans are ready for harvest in five to six months.

4. Once the crop is taken from the ground where does it go? Is it stored somewhere before it is ready for use? Or does it get packaged right away? If stored, what is it stored in and why?
Once soybeans have been harvested, they are sold to a grain dealer or to specialty markets (soybeans may be stored temporarily before being sold), the grain dealer sells the beans to a processor. The processor responds to market demands--most of the time, the oil is extracted from the beans and the oil and the remaining protein fiber is sold separately.

If soybeans are held before sale, they are stored on the farm in large round metal grain bins.

B. Production Materials
1. Is there any special equipment used during the whole production process? What are they?
Soybean production involves special equipment during the whole process. This is how it is broken down:
During planting: tractors, seed planters, sometimes fertilizer applicators are used

During maintenance: sometimes spraying is required to destroy weeds and/or insects which may destroy the young growing plants; sometimes irrigation in required in very dry weather conditions

During harvest: tractors, combines, trucks are used

Some farmers use computers to help in detecting soil deficiencies and/or problems and yield irregularities.

2. How was the production process handled before technological developments? What types of machines, if any, were used in the process?
Before modern technological developments such as tractors and seed planters, farmers used to have horses, mules and wagons which helped out in the field.

3. Are pesticides used in crop production? What are the most common types?
Pesticides are used in the production of soybeans only if conditions warrant it! The most common pesticides used are herbicides to suppress weed competition for the growing crop. Insecticides are used only to eliminate insect infestations when/if they occur.

C. Grading
1. Is there an inspection that the product must go through before being packaged/sold?
Soybeans are inspected at point of sale, either to the grain dealer or at the processing plant. The sale price of the soybeans is determined by grade, moisture content, foreign matter and damage.

2. Is the inspection conducted by county, state, or national officials?
The inspection is usually conducted by the grain dealer or employee of the processing plant. However, North Carolina Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (NCDACS) grain graders are used at the two major processing plants in Raleigh and Fayetteville.

3. What agency is responsible for the grading/testing and setting the standards?
The agencies responsible for setting standards are the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the Federal Grain Inspection Service (FGIS).

4. How is the grading done? Is it for each individual piece, or per field, per farm, etc.?
The grading is done by taking random samples from each truckload at point of sale.

5. Give a basic breakdown of the scale used and what it means

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V. Packaging

A. Is the product usually sold fresh, frozen, dried, etc.? When soybeans are sold by the producer, they are fully mature beans (dried on the plant in the field); fresh green soybeans are the exception ( a very small market). Consumers may purchase soybeans in any of many processed forms, usually as oil or as an ingredient in many prepared foods.

B. If product is sold in a variety of ways what is the most common in NC?
Soybeans are sold in a wide variety of ways, most often as an ingredient (no different than any other part of the country). Note, however, since North Carolina is among the top producers of pork and poultry, those industries are the major soybean protein users in the NC.

C. Is the product packaged? If yes, how? (bags, boxes, bottles, etc)
In 99% of sales, soybeans are not packaged. Soybeans may be purchased in natural form, roasted or green. Products may be manufactured from soybean oil or protein; however, soybeans may be packaged in jars, bottles, bags, boxes or in bulk form as a feed ingredient.

D. Why is it done this way? Is it economical, prevents bruising, industry standard or for shipping purposes, etc.?
Soybeans are processed in bulk, therefore no need for packaging--except that soybean oil products and small consumer products must be packaged for shipment, storage, display and use.

VI. Shipping

A. Distribution
1. What is the most common method of distribution in your industry?
The most common method of distribution is truck and train.

2. Is the product sold mainly to retail, foodservice, wholesale, specialty outlets or a variety of outlets? What is the most common?
Soybeans are sold in bulk to processing plants.

3. Does the product go to one place, then another before ending up on a grocery store shelf or restaurant? If yes, where does it go?
Soybeans are sold to a processor then to another more specialized processor.

4. Is the commodity exported? Domestically, internationally?
Soybeans are exported both domestically and internationally. However, most soybeans grown in NC remain here to supply the domestic swine and poultry industries here.

B. Transporting
1. How is the commodity normally transported (from farm to retail outlet)?
Soybeans are transported from the farm to the grain dealer and processor by truck. After being processed into oil or protein fiber, they are most likely shipped by rail.

2. Does the transportation vehicle require special features? (Refrigeration, etc.)
Special transportation vehicles required would be clean tank cars dedicated solely to food transport.

3. Have methods of transportation changed over the years? (Before automobiles, etc. how was it transported?) Or has method of transportation stayed the same? And if so, how is it done?
Methods of transportation have basically not changed. Soybeans were not transported widely before the advent of trucks and trains.
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VII. Buying

A. Product
1. What is the product used for? Are there different uses?
Soybeans are generally used as a food for humans and domesticated animals. However, in recent years more and more uses for soybeans have developed: food for humans, food for animals, poultry and aquaculture feed, fuel, lubricants, industrial applications, plastics, printing inks and pharmaceuticals

2. When purchasing/inspecting the commodity (at the store) how do you know it is fresh?
Not applicable

3. Is there a trick to buying and finding ripe/fresh product? (Smell, thumping, shaking, color etc.)
Not applicable

B. Labels
1. Is your product required to carry a label?
The only required labeling we are aware of for soybeans is when they are used as an ingredient in a food product or minimal protein guarantee for feed use.

2. Is there an industry standard for the label, or is it individualized for each company/producer/grower?
US law provides that foods processed for human consumption are required to identify ingredients and the nutritional values of the product.
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VIII. Nutritional Information

A. Food Pyramid
1. What group of the food pyramid does the commodity fall into?
Meat, poultry, fish, dry beans, eggs and nut group

2. Is there a recommended daily allowance of this? What is it?
Two to three servings per day
B. What nutrients are found in the commodity? How is it helpful? Soybeans are a legume and are a meat alternative especially for vegetarian diets. Soybeans are full of protein and calcium.

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