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Ag in the Classroom: Soybeans are ‘miracle crop’

Soybeans are called the miracle crop because they contain all three of the main nutrients needed for good nutrition. They contain complete protein, carbohydrates, and fat. They are especially high in calcium and iron.

Across the globe, 1 in 7 people are malnourished. A program called World Initiative for Soy and Human Health (WISHH) is working to bring the benefits of United States soy protein to developing countries around the world. Countries that are involved with this program are Afghanistan, India, Haiti, and Indonesia. WISHH works to get soy flour and textured soy protein to the children of these nations.

Illinois raises 427 million bushels of soybeans per year. Decatur is known as “Soy City” because they process so many soybeans at ADM. The complete soybean is used at their facility. The hull becomes additives and livestock feed. The beans are flattened into flakes and oil is extracted. This oil is separated into lecithin to use in baked goods. Flakes are also processed into flour and this high protein flour improves the shelf life of baked goods.

This month in Ag in the Classroom we made Beanie Babies. The bags can be hung in a window, or someplace warm, and the soybeans should sprout in a few days. This is an excellent way for students to observe germination. Other classes learned about drones and crop spraying. These classes did experiments with flight principles.

The soybean fields in Douglas County are helping to feed people around the world. Douglas County Ag in the Classroom is supported by Douglas County Farm Bureau, Douglas County Ag Center and Illinois Ag in the Classroom.


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