|The majority of Americans are interested in learning more about biobased products, according to a recent study by the soybean checkoff and United Soybean Board (USB). |
The national study, conducted by NuStats surveyed, 1,370 people and found that 88 percent of respondents support the federal government’s involvement in educating consumers about availability and attributes of biobased products. Most consumers (88 percent) also support Congress’ increase of funding to the U.S. Department of Agriculture to support promotion, education and research of biobased products. About the same number of consumers support the federal government becoming a prominent and visible purchaser of biobased products to make them more available to the general public.
“This research affirms that Americans see the value of biobased products, which can be made from U.S. soybeans, to offer energy security, environmental, worker health and other benefits,” says Chuck Myers, USB Domestic Marketing chair and a soybean farmer from Lyons, Neb.
There is still room for more education, however. Three-quarters of those polled reported being unfamiliar with biobased products, demonstrating the need for continued education about the importance and availability of these renewable, homegrown products. The good news is that 81 percent of those surveyed with modest knowledge expressed interest in learning even more about “green” technology.
The study clearly shows that consumer education and product promotion make an enormous difference in whether people will buy biobased products,” says Myers. “Through their checkoff, soybean farmers have helped research and bring many of these products to market.”
The soybean checkoff is committed to funding the research, development and commercialization of new industrial uses for soybeans. It has focused its efforts on five target areas, including: adhesives, coatings and printing inks, lubricants, plastics and specialty products.
For the past decade, U.S. soybean farmers have helped fund the development of many successful new uses for soybeans, including soy plastics and foams, soy methyl esters and soy ink. Research to find new applications for these products continues in an effort to utilize more U.S. soybeans.
An executive summary of the research is available at www.soybiobased.org as well as profiles of success in federal biobased products use. In addition, USB has produced a catalog of currently available soy biobased products, along with other soy based research information which may be viewed at www.soynewuses.org.
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 Customer Information Act, USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service has oversight responsibilities for USB and the soybean checkoff.