The United Soybean Board (USB) and soybean checkoff are committed to partnering with industry leaders to advance the soybean industry and make U.S. soybeans more valuable. USB recently announced the winners of the USB Outstanding Achievement Award and USB Excellence Awards at Commodity Classic in Tampa, Fla.

The awards given by USB recognize the commitment of certain individuals or companies who have made an outstanding, positive impact on the soybean industry.

The USB Outstanding Achievement Award is the highest recognition bestowed by USB. The USB Excellence Award is a rotating award that recognizes outstanding achievement in five categories: communications, domestic marketing, international marketing, new uses and production research

The USB Outstanding Achievement Award was awarded to Gary List, lead scientist at the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). List has made outstanding contributions to the soybean industry for the past several decades. He has had a long and distinguished career with USDA, where he has conducted cutting-edge compositional research in support of the soybean industry.

Among his many accomplishments, List was a pioneer in the research of the removal of trans-fatty acids from soybean oil, which is now helping the industry meet the market’s growing demands for healthier oils.

In the early 1990s, List’s research team began work aimed at bringing structurally modified oilseeds to commercialization, including low-linolenic soybean oil and the high-saturate lines. The low-linolenic oils are in commercial production with the high-stearic lines expected to be available by 2010.

“The United Soybean Board and soybean checkoff are proud to have the opportunity to recognize someone such as List who has contributed so much to the soybean industry,” says Eric Niemann, USB chairman and soybean farmer from Nortonville, Kan. “This work has allowed soybean farmers to successfully respond to the market demand for healthy food products and retain this vital market.”

This year, two USB Excellence Awards were given for accomplishments in new uses research for soybeans. Bernard Tao and Ford Motor Company (Research and Innovation Center — Department of Materials Research and Advanced Engineering) each won an USB Excellence Award in New Uses.

Tao is professor of agricultural and biological engineering at Purdue University, West Lafayette, Ind. Tao has helped develop a number of products and processes for utilizing soybean components in industrial applications, including crayons, candles, biosurfactants, home heating fuels, aviation deicing fluids, and, most recently, aviation jet fuels and cold-flow biodiesel fuels.

Tao has also advised several student teams in new uses entrepreneurship contests. In these contests student teams work to develop such products as soybean crayons, cosmetics, ski wax, fire starters, soy protein breakfast cereal, snack crackers, gelatin replacements, Popsicle sticks, UV curable polymers, heating fuels, and markers. Some of the products resulting from these contests have even been commercialized.

After receiving $230,000 in initial funding from USB, Ford Motor Company invested $3 million for the development of polyurethane foams and elastomers based on soy polyol. Ford is also working with several polyurethane supply chain partners to assess how soy foams perform in a variety of head-restraint tools. This action by Ford has caused several other automotive OEMs to begin the application development process to develop polyurethane foams and elastomers based on soy polyols.

Most automobiles contain 30 pounds of petroleum foam per vehicle, making Ford’s dedication to this research an enormous potential new market for domestically grown soy. Ford has already developed a polyurethane foam seating formulation that meets the current Ford seating specifications utilizing soy-based polyol to replace 40 percent of the petroleum-based polyol normally used in a seating foam.

USB is made up of 64 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.