Calling it a 'soy house' might be stretching things a bit. But the Habitat for Humanity House built at the Indiana State Fair for an Indianapolis family contained soybean by-products in several components. Since the Indiana Soybean Alliance was part of the large group of ag supporters that helped promote the building of the house, contractors who did the work made sure they included some products made from soybeans.
It was also the year of the soybean at the air, which made soy use displays easy to find around the fairgrounds. Even the Indiana FFA state officers took turns dressing as Bennie the Bean in the official mascot costume. That was a riot, says Casey Conley, Indiana FFA 2011-2012 state president. Wearing the costume and being incognito, they participated in a number of celebrity events at the fair. Including the nightly parade that went around the fairgrounds.
The house was built behind the Indiana FFA Pavilion. The Indiana FFA was assigned a day to work on the house. In addition, chapter members and district officers who came to work for the day at the air in the Pavilion often found themselves in the position of official greeter and tour guide for those fairgoers wanting to get a peak at the house. It was eventually moved to an address on Carrrollton Avenue in Indianapolis.
New uses for soy don't just happen. Someone has to look for them. The Indiana Soybean Alliance has sponsored a competition at Purdue University for years that awards teams of students that come up with unique ideas for using soybeans in products. The goal is to develop a product using soybeans or soy by-products that could actually be practical and perhaps be a candidate to be produced by a company.
Soy crayons are a classic example. They were developed by a team of students who won the competition several years ago. Later, the soybean crayons were produced by a company, and are still marketed today.
The competition for students was officially kicked off last week. Beginning in 2010, there is also a separate category for students wanting to develop unique products using corn or its byproducts. Also set up for Purdue students, awards in that category are sponsored by the Indiana Corn Marketing Council. The Council oversees funds collected through the state-approved corn checkoff that has been in place now for just a few seasons.