Commodity groups are finding ways to repurpose every aspect of the crop they are growing, so that there are multiple uses derived from one product. Meagan Kaiser, chair of the United Soybean Board says their recent efforts have focused on using checkoff dollars to provide an alternative to plastic straws.
Kaiser… “You know five years ago, we were sitting and saying okay, what kind of industrial products, we used to call them, should we be looking at? And on the news at the time was straws, plastic straws are killing turtles and polluting the ocean and such and we were like, well could we make a soy straw? And, you know what, here we are five years later. We have a high olegic soybean oil, soy straw that is biodegradable after 90 days.”
Kaiser says this “no waste” effort driven by the United Soybean Board is aimed to put more money back in the pockets of growers.
Kaiser… “You know I think when we consider things, it's one, is this an area that anybody else is looking at? It could be a high-risk thing too. You know when we first tried the straws, they would fall apart in your drink. Okay, so that’s too biodegradable. You know, looking at what is it that we can do that nobody else is looking at. What kind of barrier can we break down to kind of help other people? We want to serve as a catalyst. We also, the number one thing we have to look at is, is a good use of farmer money?”
The soy checkoff is entirely supported by farmers. For every dollar invested into the checkoff, $12.30 is returned to the soybean industry.