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The United States' soybean industry is making groundbreaking moves that will answer the call for healthier food and feed products, while maintaining a competitive edge in a surging global market. All segments of the U.S. soybean industry collectively agree that by working together they will be able to remove barriers that impede progress, thus meeting the demands of consumers and other end users while remaining globally competitive. With no current commodity unified organizationally in such a manner, this progressive and potentially successful platform has materialized as QUALISOY™.

QUALISOY represents the entire value chain within the United States' soybean industry. Each link is a critical component in terms of building a unified soybean coalition. Members of this organization realize that enhanced compositional traits will not only add value to U.S. soybeans, they also know that quality soybeans lead to quality products for end users. QUALISOY's mission is "to create added value and increased global competitiveness for the U.S. industry through the development, commercialization and promotion of enhanced quality traits."

Trait improvement on a commodity-wide basis requires the collaboration of resources and individuals. QUALISOY represents an innovative effort in bringing an entire industry together to increase overall value. Twenty-two key members, representing all facets of the soybean industry, constitute the organization. Those members are as follows:

  •  Three members representing multinational technology;
  •  Two members from regional technology companies;
  •  Seven members of the United Soybean Board (USB);
  •  Four members representing soybean processors/end users;
  •  One member from academia;
  •  One member from USDA's Agriculture Research Service;
  •  One farmer-leader from the American Soybean Association;
  •  Two farmer-leaders representing Qualified State Soybean Boards; and
  •  USB's chief executive officer (ex-officio).

Raising The Bar On Quality

The U.S. soybean industry encompasses a vast array of consumers, ranging from the food and livestock industries to industrial sectors of the market. QUALISOY Board members recognize that improvements must be made among all customers in the market, not just in one segment.

With concern in the market today about foods containing partially hydrogenated oils, trans-fatty acids and saturated fats, more and more food companies are listening to the demands of consumers. QUALISOY Board members are working to create a higher standard for soy-based foods and feed in the marketplace.

To respond to consumer demands, researchers are modifying oil contents in soybeans to decrease saturated fat content. They are also working to lower linolenic acid for flavor stability and to increase oleic acid, thus reducing or even eliminating the need to hydrogenate soybean oil for use in many foods. Researchers are also focusing on increasing methionine, cystine and lysine for improved animal nutrition. To comply with government regulations, scientists are in the process of lowering phytate phosphorus levels that result from animals' digestion of soybean feed. Additional research is being conducted with industrial partners in the lubricants industry to enhance the lubricity and performance of hydraulic and metalworking fluids.

Headed In The Right Direction

Members throughout the value chain created the QUALISOY Board in response to the demand for a quality product. They understand that by enhancing a valuable base product such as soybean germplasm, they would be able to send forth a wave of quality that will touch the entire industry.

QUALISOY Board members take equal opportunity and responsibility in working together to share pertinent knowledge and technology from their respective niches in the industry. By working together to meet consumer demands, Board members will be able to utilize existing technology and intellectual concepts to identify enhanced soybean traits. The organization will also accelerate the development and commercialization of quality soybean traits, thus maintaining a competitive advantage for the U.S. soybean industry in the global market. Y

David Durham is a soybean producer in Hardin, Mo., and chairman of QUALISOY.

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