Program Brings Soybeans Closer to Consumers

Checkoff program supports interactive exhibit in at Chicago's Lincoln Park Zoo.

Published on: Jun 30, 2009

Consumers visiting the Lincoln Park Zoo in Chicago can get a soy-based education. That's where information about soybean production is being outlined in an exhibit sponsored by the United Soybean Board and the Illinois Soybean Association. The exhibit titled "Soybeans Growing Food, Growing World" is up and running in John Deere's Farm-in-the-Zoo. The exhibit brings a look at farm life to children and adults from the city who may not have much firsthand ag experience.

"This display is a combination of education and communication to younger folks and the adults who see it," says Jim Domagalski, a Columbus, Mich. Soybean farmer and USB farmer-leader, who cut the ribbon to open the display. "It takes viewers through the planting, growth, harvest, and processing and exporting of soybeans."

The display gives a simple overview of soybean farming and processing while teaching the importance of soy in the United States an around the world. The interactive nature of the exhibit includes a combine simulation that can be cranked by hand to move the soy plant through the machine.

The zoo estimates that 3 million people a year go through the facility. Adds Domagalski: "There's a gap between ag and the general public; they don't know where food comes from or how it's grown. This display shows the positive side of food production."