U.S. soybean production is based on a national system of sustainability and conservation laws and regulations combined with careful implementation of best production practices by the nation’s 280,000 soybean producers. In addition, U.S. soybean producers participate in numerous certified and audited voluntary sustainability and conservation programs.
Environmental Stewardship: A commitment to continuous improvement
- 95% of U.S. soy farmers participate in conservation programs and use sustainable production practices.
- Since 1980, U.S. soy farmers increased production by 96% while using 8% less energy.
- In the last 25 years, U.S. soy farmers have decreased energy use per tonne of soybeans grown by 46%.
- U.S. soy farmers have increased their yields by 55% on approximately the same amount of land through conservation practices.
- 94% of U.S. soybean acres are non-irrigated and 75% of sediment is removed by conservation buffers, improving water quality.
- Greenhouse gas emissions produced by the U.S. soy industry have decreased by 47% between 1980 and 2012.
- 43% of U.S. soy farmers used precision technology in 2006 to increase on-farm efficiency.
- U.S. soy farmers have reduced herbicide runoff by 70%, which helps to keep the water supply healthy.
- Soil erosion has decreased by 66% per tonne of U.S. soy production since 1980.
- U.S. soy farmers have taken 10.9 million hectares (27 million acres) out of agricultural production under the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Conservation Reserve Program.
- The carbon sequestered by the program is equivalent to taking nearly 10 million cars off the road.
- More than 70% of U.S. soy farmers practice conservation tillage.
- 10% of available U.S. cropland is taken out of production to protect sensitive areas.
Social Responsibility: A commitment to future generations
- There are about 2.2 million farms in America with an average size of 169 hectares (418 acres).
- 96% of U.S. farms with crop production are family farms, and they originate 87% of the value of crop production. Non-family farms account for less than 6% of maize and soybean production.
- Not only are soybeans the highest natural source of dietary fiber, they are also the only oilseed that contains all nine amino acids essential for human health, thus providing a complete protein.
- Consumption of soy protein provides health benefits that may help prevent or treat certain chronic diseases.
- Soybean oil is used in food products, such as salad dressings and mayonnaise, and industrial products such as plastics and biodiesel.
- 95% of U.S. counties have soil maps and data available online.
- U.S. soybean farmers embrace the U.S. government’s long-term commitment to the protection of workers’ rights, including fair wages, safety precautions and insurance.
Economic Profitability: A commitment to long-term viability
The global animal agriculture industry is U.S. soy’s No. 1 customer, consuming 90% of the annual U.S. soybean crop.
- A series of feeding studies in swine and poultry around the world, carried out over an eight-year span, showed the economic value of U.S. de-hulled soybean meal due to its higher protein content, exceptional amino acid profile and superior amino acid digestibility.
- Soy is the top U.S. agricultural export, with nearly 60% of the U.S. soybean crop going to customers abroad.
- In the 2014/15 marketing year, the U.S. exported more than 57 million tonnes of U.S. soy, valued at more than $27 billion.
- In 2013, the U.S. soy industry contributed four million jobs and $369 billion to the U.S. economy.
- The U.S. transportation infrastructure of highways, railways and waterways enables U.S. soy farmers to move their products quickly and efficiently and pass the cost savings along to their customers.
U.S. Soybean Farmers’ Sustainability Report 2013, U.S. Soybean Export Council.
U.S. Soy’s Sustainability by the Numbers. United Soybean Board, 14 July 2015.