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From the farm to the Big Apple

TISKILWA – The path from a field of soybeans in Tiskilwa to the asphalt jungle of the big city might not be as long as people imagine.

Last week Sharon Covert, who raises soybeans near Tiskilwa, went to New York City to see how soybeans are being used there.

Covert is active with the United Soybean Board and has served as chair of its Customer Focus Action Team since December.

“We want to provide our customers with what they want,” she said. “And what they want are sustainable products instead of products that are petroleum-based.”

Covert and Lewis Bainbridge, another soybean farmer and the secretary of the United Soybean Board, went to New York the end of May to recognize New York sites that use biobased products. One stop was an Applebee’s restaurant in the Harlem neighborhood, where the franchise owner had installed carpeting with soy-based backing throughout the restaurant.

They also attended a dedication ceremony in Battery Park, located just two blocks from the nearly complete One World Trade Center monument at Ground Zero. Covert said the park had been destroyed by Hurricane Sandy, and the restored park included the installment of AstroTurf with a soy-based backing.

Covert said the backing for the carpet is made of chopped up water bottles, which are then mixed with soybean oil and other products.

“We were pleased to hear they’re happy with the product,” she said.

Other ways soy is being used is in the form of biodiesel in the ports of New York and New Jersey. The product is called Bioheat, which is a blend of biodiesel with traditional heating oil.

“They’re also using a soy-based solvent to wipe off graffiti,” Covert said.

Covert said as a soybean farmer, she was excited to support the many products that bring benefits to New York City residents.

“The soy checkoff is pleased that state-of-the-art products, such as biodiesel, carpet and AstroTurf, use soy as a renewable ingredient for sustainability,” she said.

The 69 farmer-directors of USB oversee the investments of the soy checkoff to maximize profit opportunities for all U.S. soybean farmers. The soy checkoff invests in research, development and commercialization of new products that contain U.S. soy. Last year, 45 new soy-based products were brought onto the market.

Covert said she would like the public to know there are many uses for soy and soy byproducts, including animal food, food for humans and industrial uses.

“It’s about the three E’s – environment, economy and energy security,” she said. “People would rather use a rapidly renewable resource instead of petroleum products.”

Comment on this story at www.bcrnews.com.

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