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.