Illinois leads in soybean production

Rows of green soybeans are a common sight in the fertile farm fields of Illinois. The typically three-foot high crop breaks up the sometimes monotonous rows of corn fields that Illinois is most famous for.

While Illinois produces significantly more corn per year, the state ranks first in the country in annual soybean production.

Even if you’re surrounded by soybean fields, you may not be aware of how often you come in contact with Illinois-grown soybeans.

Soybeans are most popular for livestock feed due to their high levels of protein. Since Illinois produces 1.9 billion pounds of pork annually, it’s likely the bacon or pork chop you recently ate was fed with Illinois-grown soybeans.

Another popular use for soybeans is soybean oil. If your car or truck runs on biodiesel fuel, it may have been produced from soybean oil. Soybean oil also provides environmentally safe alternatives to chemically-manufactured solvents used in everything from crayons to candles to inks.

You may also be surprised to know soybean oil is contained in many common household items, including margarine, salad dressings and mayonnaise.

So just how big is Illinois’ soybean production?

In 2013, Illinois harvested 13.86 million tons of soybeans, a twenty percent increase from 2012.

According to the latest United States Department of Agriculture census, Illinois was responsible for $5 billion in soybean sales in 2012, about 13 percent of the United States total.

To learn more about soybean production in Illinois, please visit the Illinois Soybean Association's website.