U.S. soybean farmers — especially those in Kansas — are undoubtedly especially proud this season of the Kansas State University (KSU) Wildcats — or, more specifically, their stadium playing field.

KSU recently installed AstroTurf GameDay Grass at Bill Snyder Family Stadium in Manhattan. AstroTurf products include a soy-based backing called BioCel, from Universal Textile Technologies. BioCel uses soy-based-polyol technology developed with support from the soybean checkoff.

“We love seeing our U.S. soy on the football field,” says USB New Uses Program Chair Bob Haselwood, who farms about 65 miles east of Manhattan in Berryton.

“The No. 1 user of our soybeans is the animal ag sector, which uses 98 percent of our soybean meal. But soybean oil is used in a lot of things people aren’t aware of, such as paint, cleaners and turf, and the list goes on and on.”

“In fact, industrial use of U.S. soy has jumped 50 percent since 2006,” adds Haselwood.

The sustainability of U.S. soy proves to be one important reason behind its increasing popularity in new, industrial uses. More often than ever, builders and other industrial customers choose soy-based products over those made with petroleum-based chemicals.

To recognize the new soy uses milestone, the United Soybean Board (USB) and Kansas Soybean Commission held a pre-game event before the Wildcats’ game on Sept. 17. The event offered the chance to hand out GameDay Grass samples to fans and talk to them about the versatility of soy.

Becoming widely used

While Kansas State became the first NCAA Football Bowl Subdivision institution to install soy-based AstroTurf, this superior surface is in use at every level of competition in facilities across the United States and Canada.

For example, the National Football League’s St. Louis Rams and Major League Baseball’s Tampa Bay Rays and Toronto Blue Jays play on soy-backed AstroTurf, as do the baseball teams at Kansas State, Ohio State and South Carolina.

The football teams at Auburn, Tennessee and Texas all practice on GameDay Grass. And the Citrus Bowl, home of the Capital One Bowl and Champs Sports Bowl games, also sport AstroTurf.

Click here to see if a venue near you uses AstroTurf.

BioCel combines the oil from U.S. soybeans with recycled content to make a polyurethane product alternative to similar petroleum-based goods.

According to AstroTurf, the renewable backing extends the turf’s life, enhances player safety, lessens our country’s dependence on foreign oil and improves outdoor air quality.

This is just one of the new uses for U.S. soy that the soybean checkoff supports as part of its mission to help research, develop and promote additional ways to utilize the crop. Every year, thanks in part to checkoff funding, dozens of new soy-based products reach the marketplace.

USB is made up of 69 farmer-directors who oversee the investments of the soybean checkoff on behalf of all U.S. soybean farmers. Checkoff funds are invested in the areas of animal utilization, human utilization, industrial utilization, industry relations, market access and supply.

As stipulated in the Soybean Promotion, Research and Consumer Information Act, USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service has oversight responsibilities for USB and the soybean checkoff.

For more information on the United Soybean Board, visit us at www.UnitedSoybean.org.