Soybean processors crush soybeans into two components, meal and oil. In Virginia, processors sell the meal for use primarily for poultry and livestock feed. Nationally, poultry and livestock consume 98 percent of all soybean meal. Humans represent the largest consumers of soybean oil, outweighing any other use by far.
Meal Demand in Virginia
Strong poultry and livestock industries result in strong markets for soybean meal. In Virginia, animal agriculture represents $3.5 billion in revenues and 33,000 jobs. Annually, poultry and livestock consume approximately 531,000 tons of soybean meal, the meal from 22.5 million bushels of soybeans.
At the national level, the soybean checkoff promotes a strong animal agriculture industry through work with the United States Meat Export Federation (USMEF) and the U.S.A. Poultry and Egg Export Council (USAPEEC).
No other use for soybean oil comes close to its role in the human diet. Nearly 83 percent of all soybean oil used in the United States goes into food industry uses such as baking, frying, salad dressing and mayonnaise. Biodiesel production uses 11 percent of soybean oil each year. And, industrial products use the remaining oil for products such as cleaners, adhesives and paints.
The soybean checkoff works to help maximize soybean oil use through efforts targeted at the food industry, nutritionists and industrial product manufacturers.
The soybean industry exports whole soybeans, as well as soybean meal and soy oil. Soy represents a key export for the United States. In order to keep exports strong, the soybean checkoff operates offices in countries throughout the world.
The majority of the soybeans exported to other countries are also used for poultry, livestock and fish feed, making the livestock, poultry and fish industries the largest soybean customer worldwide.