Goodness Grows In North Carolina
Association Name: North Carolina Soybean Producers Association
A. Commodity Represented
B. Types of Commodity
C. Is there a National Promotion Month for the Commodity? When?
Return to Menu
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.
1. How is the product used?
Soybeans are used in almost countless ways:
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
nutritional enhancement for human consumption
feed rations for domesticated animals, fowl and fish
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
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.
Return to Menu
III. Regional Information
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?
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.
1. What type of soil works best with this commodity? Why? Is it rich in a specific
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
Return to Menu
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
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.
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
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
5. Give a basic breakdown of the scale used and what it means
Return to Menu
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.
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.
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
2. Does the transportation vehicle require special features? (Refrigeration,
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.
Return to Menu
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?
3. Is there a trick to buying and finding ripe/fresh product? (Smell, thumping,
shaking, color etc.)
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
US law provides that foods processed for human consumption are required to identify
ingredients and the nutritional values of the product.
Return to Menu
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.
to Teacher Commodity Page
AG's COOL Homepage