BLOOMINGTON, Ill. — April is National Soyfoods Month and the Illinois Soybean Association (ISA) has a role to play in the celebration.
The United States is one of the leading counties in soybean production, and Illinois is the leading soybean production state. More than 80 million acres of soybeans are grown in the country each year, and over 10 million are grown in Illinois.
“I am always looking to incorporate soy into my own diet,” says ISA CEO, John Lumpe. “Adding edamame to your salad or cooking with soybean oil is an easy way to do that. Even traditional meat choices are fed a high-protein diet of soybean meal, so soy truly is a major contributor to the global food ecosystem and its many offerings.”
Illinois farmers work to meet the world’s demand for this important crop in a sustainable way. U.S. soybean farmers provide nutritional, versatile, and sustainable food to people across the globe through soil and water conservation, crop rotation, and carbon net neutrality goals.
Soy is praised for its health benefits, including its ability to reduce the risk of heart disease by lowering cholesterol according to the Soy Nutrition Institute. Its protein, oil, and high oleic attributes all carry the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s heart health claims. According to studies by the United Soybean Board twenty-five grams of soy protein or 20.5 grams of soybean oil daily as part of a diet low in saturated fat and cholesterol may reduce the risk of heart disease. In addition to heart health benefits, soyfoods may also improve cognitive function, lower blood pressure, enhance muscle and bone health, and reduce risk of some cancers.
Another one of soy’s strengths is versatility. Soybeans are consumed in more traditional applications like tofu, edamame and tempeh, but also frequently show up in items like protein bars and shakes. It’s also commonly used as an ingredient in snack foods like potato chips cooked in soybean oil, and chocolate bars where soy lecithin is used as a stabilizer and flavor protector.
ISA has invested Illinois soybean farmers checkoff dollars into several different soy food initiatives this year including:
- Unleashing the Power of Soy Protein Customer Activation Tour – delivering the Illinois soy solutions story directly to food ingredient companies in the Illinois food ecosystem so we can make direct connections with decision-makers while we share soy’s story and the powerful on-trend impact soybeans can have on their brands, businesses and bottom lines.
- Sustainability Influencer and Outreach Campaign– connecting with those in the industry from farm to fork to educate them about the sustainability of Illinois grown soybeans and how they make an impact on consumer’s lives every day.
- Illinois Farm Families – our collaborative work with the Illinois ag community in communicating with Chicago consumers about the Illinois food system and the farmers that grow their food.
Join us and celebrate National Soyfoods Month this April by incorporating more of this sustainable, versatile, high-quality protein into your diet.
The Illinois Soybean Association (ISA) checkoff and membership programs represent more than 43,000 soybean farmers in Illinois. The checkoff funds market development and utilization efforts while the membership program supports the government relations interests of Illinois soybean farmers at the local, state, and national level, through the Illinois Soybean Growers (ISG). ISA upholds the interests of Illinois soybean producers through promotion, advocacy, and education with the vision of becoming a market leader in sustainable soybean production and profitability. For more information, visit the websites www.ilsoy.org and www.ilsoygrowers.com.
— Illinois Soybean Association