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WKSU is looking for the answers to the questions you have about Ohio in a project we call "OH Really?" It's an initiative that makes you part of the news gathering process.

Researchers Work to Find New Uses for Soybeans. OH Really?

a photo of a soybean harvester
A farm machine loads a harvest of soybeans into a trailer.

A changing trade deal with China has put a strain on Ohio agriculture, but farmers are experimenting with new uses for soybeans to reduce the reliance on Chinese buyers. And a WKSU listener asked us where consumers can find products made with soy. This edition of OH Really? explores where those soybeans go.

For consumers, it’s not always apparent where soybeans go since they’re not the most common item at grocery stores, but they end up in more products than you might expect.

Dave Dotterer is a Wayne County farmer and member of the United Soybean Board.

“Our goal is to just keep striving to come up with new products. So, the soybean is quite a product. You know, there’s printer inks made with it,” he said.

Soybean oil is mainly used in cooking oils, and farmers are starting to grow a healthier high-oleic soy with benefits similar to olive oil.

Research groups in the Ohio Soybean Council have also found other uses for soybean oil from roofing protectant to a petroleum substitute used in asphalt and tires.

The executive director of the Ohio Soybean Council, Kirk Merritt, said a lot of research is done in its lab at Ohio Wesleyan University.

Kirk Merritt talks about Airable Research Lab

“We’ll work with companies and help them develop new soy-based applications and new soy-based products faster and more cost effectively than they might be able to do on their own,” Merritt said.

Companies are currently working on a liner for canned goods that extends shelf life and quality.

Do you have a question for OH Really? We'd love to hear from you! Submit your question below.