The United Soybean Board (USB) has developed the following glossary of soy terms as a reference tool for story and article development.

This glossary has been designed with the reporter in mind as a convenient means of researching various aspects of soy. We encourage you to contact us directly for additional information or to further answer any of your questions.

Included in this glossary are seven sections on soy-related topics:

Run by volunteer farmers from across the United States, the United Soybean Board is today's leading source for soybean data and marketing expertise, soy-related health news, and support for soy product research and development. American soybean growers are committed to sustaining and advancing the quality, usefulness and quantity of their product. They have a particular interest in expanding awareness of soy's human health benefits.

USB was created by the Farm Bill of 1990 to manage and direct the National Soybean Checkoff. At a rate of 0.5 percent of the market price per bushel sold, soybean farmers across the nation invest in their future through the checkoff program. Half of the farmers' funds go to work at the state level, supporting marketing and research programs right where their beans are grown. The other half is forwarded to USB, where it is invested in international marketing, domestic marketing, new uses and production.

USB is dedicated to spreading knowledge and understanding of the soybean. USB comprises 70 volunteer farmers who represent the interests of 663,880 fellow soybean growers nationwide. Qualified State Soybean Boards nominate each board member, who is then officially appointed by the U.S. Secretary of Agriculture. USB manages funding allocated toward the marketing and promotion of soy products, with an overall goal of increasing domestic utilization of U.S. soybeans from 1.2 billion bushels in 1996 to 2.0 billion bushels by 2007.

The humble soybean has blossomed from legendary Chinese origins to the "miracle crop" vastly produced on modern-day American farms. As early as 5,000 years ago, records show that farmers in China grew soybeans as an important staple crop for their everyday diet. In fact, ancient Chinese scholars referred to soy as one of the "five sacred grains."

In 1804, sailors on a Yankee clipper ship leaving China brought soybeans with them to the United States - though for a very different reason than one might imagine. They loaded the ship with soybeans as inexpensive ballast. Upon arrival in the United States, they dumped the soybeans to make room for cargo.

In 1829, U.S. farmers grew soybeans for the first time, cultivating a variety for use in soy sauce. During the Civil War, soldiers brewed soybeans as "coffee berries" when real coffee was scarce. In the late 1800s, significant numbers of farmers began to grow soybeans as forage for cattle. In 1904, at the Tuskegee Institute in Alabama, George Washington Carver began studying the soybean. His discoveries changed the way people thought about the soybean. No longer was it just a forage crop; now soybeans provided valuable protein and oil.

Prior to World War II, the United States imported 40 percent of its edible fats and oil. At the advent of the war, this oil supply was cut off and processors turned to soybean oil. By 1940, the U.S. crop had grown to 78 million bushels and the United States was a net exporter of soybeans and soybean products. That year, Henry Ford took an ax to a car trunk made with soybean plastic in a publicity stunt to demonstrate its durability. In the early '50s, soybean meal became available as a low-cost, high protein animal feed ingredient, triggering an explosion in U.S. livestock and poultry production. The soybean industry then began to look at ways to expand export markets, starting with Japan.

Today, farmers in over 29 states grow soybeans, making soybeans the second largest crop in cash sales and the number one value crop export. The soybean has become the foremost provider of protein and oil in the world.

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