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Study: Soybean industry has $124 billion impact on US economy

The 33-page study from NOPA and USB analyzes the soybean value chain’s impact on the U.S. economy since 2019.

Soybean Field At Dusk Courtesy United Soybean Board
Courtesy of United Soybean Board

The National Oilseed Processors Association (NOPA) and the United Soybean Board (USB) released a study that showed the total economic impact on the U.S. economy from the soybean sector averaged $124 billion.

“As indicated by this study’s findings, the economic contributions of the soybean processing and refining sectors to the U.S. economy are substantial, connecting soybean farmers with end users," said Thomas Hammer, NOP president. "Soybean processors convert soybeans into meal and oil. These value-added products are used in food, feed, industrial products and biofuels, supporting billions of dollars in domestic wages and tens of thousands of good paying jobs in the United States.” 

This 33-page study analyzes the soybean value chain’s impact on the U.S. economy based on data from crop years 2019/20 to 2021/22. As highlighted in the report summary, during this period: 

  • The total economic impact on the U.S. economy from the soybean sector averaged $124 billion, including $85.7 billion from soy production and $9.8 billion from soybean processing — the U.S. soy sector accounts for approximately 0.6% of the U.S. gross domestic product.
  • There are more than 500,000 individuals involved in soy farm decision making. This includes 223,000 paid, full-time equivalent jobs and an additional 62,000 family members, beyond growers, who reside on farms and are integral to soybean farming operations. 
  • The total wage impact of the sector averaged $10 billion. 

“It’s reaffirming to see that the U.S. soybean industry has such a tremendous impact on U.S. farmers and the economy overall,” says USB chair and Missouri farmer Meagan Kaiser. “When we think about soy’s role in food security, renewable energy and more than 1,000 products on the market, it may be surprising to the everyday consumer how our product extends across multiple sectors. This report, funded by our U.S. soybean farmers, allows soy as an often invisible ingredient to become a visible contribution and sustainable solution for our future.” 

Economic impacts highlighted in the study are quantified in terms of revenue, wages, jobs and the number of people dependent on the sector — all focused on the production, distribution and use of soybeans and soybean products, spanning across the value chain, from soybean farming and production to consumers and exports.

Findings are presented with educational intent at the national and state level and by congressional district. The study also includes one-page summaries for 39 key states where the soybean industry primarily operates. 

The Economic Impact of the U.S. Soybeans & End Products on the U.S. Economy  was developed by NOPA; USB commissioned LMC International Ltd., an independent economic consulting firm specializing in global agricultural commodity and agribusiness sectors. 

Find a copy of the complete study here.

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