Baltimore, MD. (APRIL 05, 2016) – The fields around the Baltimore County Center for Maryland Agriculture and Farm Park aren’t the only things greening up this spring. Inside the Exhibit Barn, a soft green synthetic “lawn,” featuring a soy-based backing, has sprung up.
And that is going to make local parents happy. Why? “The old floor was dirt,” explains Bronwyn Mitchell, the farm park manager. “In addition to being used during our annual fairs, the Exhibit Barn serves as an auxiliary classroom space for Farm Sprouts Preschool and Farm Camps, and the kids had to sit on the dirt floors. And that means they sometimes went home with dirty pants.”
Thanks to a grant from the Maryland Soybean Board’s Green Events Program, the soy lawn product known as Syntipede 354 from a company called SYNLawn, was installed March 31.
Synthetic lawn products like Syntipede and AstroTurf represent a growing market for soybean oil, which is used to create a backing that locks the synthetic grass fibers in place. In 2015, AstroTurf was installed on 300 athletic fields across the U.S. It takes the soybean oil from approximately five acres of soybeans to produce the backing for a typical field. In Maryland, farmers grow about a half a million acres of soybeans, producing more than 20 million bushels of beans each year.
“Soy-based products often provide superior quality and performance than petroleum-based products and they support our family farmers,” says William Layton, chairman of the Maryland Soybean Board. “Through a variety of research and promotion programs, the soybean checkoff has fostered the creation of hundreds of soy-based products over the last two decades.”
Soybean oil displaces about 60 percent of the petroleum-based polyurethane in BioCel, the backing material used by SYNLawn, according to Underwriters Laboratories certification.
Soybeans offer an abundant, domestically produced and renewable supply of ingredients, offering companies the opportunity to reduce the petroleum content in commercial and industrial products. The soy checkoff partners with manufacturers to commercialize new soy-based products, giving farmers and others even more opportunities to buy products that contain U.S. soy. To find soy-based products, visithttp://www.soybiobased.org.
MSB’s Green Events Program provides grants to agricultural fairs and expos through a competitive process which begins with a request for proposals in the fall. More information is available on the board’s website at http://www.mdsoy.com.
About Maryland Soybean Board: The Maryland Soybean Board administers soybean checkoff funds for soybean research, marketing and education programs in the state. One-half of the checkoff funds stay in Maryland for programs; the other half is sent to the United Soybean Board. To learn more about the Maryland Soybean Board, visit http://www.mdsoy.com.