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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. Automotive pioneer Henry Ford saw the potential to use soybeans in industrial products. He manufactured car parts made from soybean based plastic.
When processed, a 60-pound bushel of beans will yield about 11 pounds of crude soybean oil and 47 pounds of soybean meal. Soybeans are about 18% oil and 38% protein. Because they are high in protein, they are a major ingredient in livestock feed. Most soybeans are processed for their oil and protein for the animal feed industry.
In 1915 the Elizabeth City Oil and Fertilizer Company (NC) 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.
In my part of North Carolina seeing soybean fields is very common. In fact you can see one with beans ready to harvest on I-95 between Exit 20 and Exit 19 traveling South in Lumberton NC.
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.