The soybean plant is a legume related to clover, peas, and alfalfa. Soybeans are typically planted in the late spring and when they flower, in the summer, they can produce up to 80 pods. Each pod contains 2-4 pea-sized beans, which are high in protein and oil.
Soybeans are grown throughout the United States but the ideal planting locations are in the Midwest. Typically, in Indiana soybeans are planted in April and May and harvested in September and October.
Soybeans have a large variety of uses from industrial products such as engine oil or crayons to food products and animal feeds. Soybeans are naturally rich in protein and oil and they have the highest natural source of dietary fiber making them an extremely versatile crop in terms of how it is used all around the world for a variety of purposes. Some of these uses include:
Typically when soybeans are processed they are cleaned, cracked, dehulled, and rolled into flakes. This process separates the soybean oil and the soybean meal. The oil can then be used in food products like salad dressing or cooking oils or it can be used in countless industrial products the let our country run effectively each day. The meal part of the soybean meal, which contains the protein, can be used in further food products or it can be used to provide feed to livestock.
Soybean farmers are constantly the soybean growing process using less land, energy, and water. Today's average farmers grow twice as much food as his or her parents did, and does so using less land, energy, and water, producing fewer emissions. This is great news for the environment, people and industries who rely on this magnificent plant!