With abundantly available soybeans as a base, the uses for this staple product are ever-growing. “Soybeans are incredibly versatile. They’re used in everything from pies to paints,” boasts Joshua Appenzeller, a soybean farmer from Sudlersville, and Chairman of the Maryland Soybean Board. “More than versatility, soybeans offer nearly every U.S industry a way to replace petroleum-based materials in a sustainable, environmentally friendly way.”
Yes — the same soybean used to make tofu and soy milk can also be used in the production of Goodyear tires, Sketchers footwear and even the artificial turf at Raven’s stadium. There are also many soybean-based products you can use to wash your hands, clean your stainless steel, and give your dog a bath.
“New benefits from soybeans are constantly being discovered by researchers,” Joshua says. “Because of that, soy serves as major pillars of both the Maryland and U.S. economies.” Over 12,000 Maryland farms grow about 16 million bushels of soybeans annually. This brings nearly $200 million into the state’s economy every year.
So, how can this powerhouse crop support you and your home?
Soy-based products are great for every step in your personal care routine, including facial cleansers, sunscreen, hand soap and bug repellant. You can get most of them right around the corner at your local drugstore, too!
Over the past decade, research has revealed that soy-based skin care products have a lot going for them. Because soy is naturally rich in Vitamin E, essential fatty acids, and healthy estrogens that help skin cell turnover, the benefits of each application are plentiful.
Now, let’s turn to your living space. Soy is a natural degreaser and disinfectant, so it’s gaining popularity among manufacturers for industrial-grade products. There are affordable all-purpose cleaners, degreasers, laundry detergents and carpet cleaners on the market to help you keep your home eco-friendly and safe for all.
Of course, you can’t forget about your trusty sidekicks. Soy-based products are used to make safe pet shampoos and habitat cleaners for cold-blooded friends (think terrariums and aquariums). Soy is a top performer for the removal of debris and other buildup while being non-toxic and biodegradable.
“With such a versatile, in-demand crop, our farmers are focused on improving every part of the process to ensure environmental friendliness,” Joshua explains. “Maryland’s soybean producers have improved the sustainability of their operations in recent years with reduced weed control, less fuel and improved land rotation.”
At the end of the day, pat yourself on the back for a job well done in choosing safe, sustainable soybean products — while supporting Maryland soybean farmers!