North Carolina-Soybeans-December 20

North Carolina People, Places, and Things-December 20

I am the dad to five adult children. As they were growing up I attempted to remind them they were special and to implore them to learn something new. My goal was to do that daily.

In 2016 my goal is to learn something new daily on the people, places, and things that make North Carolina special. Everyday this year I am doing a post on what I have learned new.

I never knew that soybeans got introduced to the United States as the result of being used as ballast on sailing ships. Soybeans origin is traced to China. In my part of North Carolina seeing soybean fields is very common. About 75% of soybeans are grown in the eastern part of North Carolina, and if you are driving in this part of the state in the summer and early fall, you are sure to see some soybeans. Soybeans are grown in 99 of the state’s 100 counties-Dare County does not grow Soybeans.


North Carolina also has an important role in the commercial processing of soybeans and hence making it a more attractive and lucrative crop.

In 2015 the Elizabeth City Oil and Fertilizer Company repurposed equipment to generate the nation’s first commercially-processed soybean oil. The modified machine was originally designed to produce cottonseed oil and cotton by-products.


Around 1870, farmers in northeastern North Carolina began soybeans as livestock food and fertilizer. After boll weevils infested the South’s cotton crops in the early 1900s, an increasing number of Tar Heel farmers turned to soybean production.

By 1915, the state had become the nation’s top soybean producer. World War I sparked an interest in soybean oil for industrial products.



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