Maryland farmers grow soybeans on more than 500,000 acres using responsible farm management practices

to protect our air, land and water today and for future generations.

16 Million Bushels Annually

500,000 Acres of Soybeans

12,800 Maryland Farm Families

$200 Million Value of Soybeans in Maryland's Economy

“I farm because it’s in my blood. You get done planting a field and you turn around and the sun’s setting over the pattern of the crops that you’ve just planted and it’s a pretty rewarding experience to see all the hard work pan out and know that you’re helping to feed families throughout the Mid-Atlantic,” says Mike Harrison of Woodbine, Md.

MD Farm and HarvestMaryland Farm & Harvest introduces viewers to Maryland farmers, their products and practices. It is produced by Maryland Public Television and supported by the Maryland Soybean Board and host of other agricultural organizations. See more episodes here.


Soybean Research
In keeping with its mission, the Maryland Soybean Board sponsors soybean-related research. Much of this information is returned to farmers via the University of Maryland Cooperative Extension Service (
Current Research

Here is a roundup of current research: Latest Funded Research

Guidelines & Application

Pre-proposal The pre-proposal is a simple form which requires only the concept and a brief narrative. The purpose of this form is to make sure that the proposed research fits within the board’s priorities. Research Priorities

The board will review the pre-proposals and may invite researchers to complete the full application form.Research Application

Here is a roundup of current research: MSB 2013 Research Roundup

Innovation behind the Bushel

The soy checkoff works with a number of industrial users to incorporate soy into their enterprises whenever viable opportunities exist. The high costs and environmental consequences of petroleum have made soy products even more appealing.

Learn more!

Current new uses for soy include plastics, lubricants, coatings, printing inks, adhesives and solvents. Ford Motor Co. is researching soy-based plastics and have used soy-based foams in their car seats for years. The federal government purchases more than $250 billion in goods and services each year, and its preference for biobased products will help drive the inclusion of soy-based products in those purchases.





GMO Soybeans

The World Health Organization defines genetically modified organisms (GMOs) as organisms in which the genetic material (DNA) has been altered in a way that does not occur naturally. It allows selected individual genes to be transferred from one organism into another, including between non-related species. Such methods are used to create GMO plants – which result in GMO food crops. This technology is called biotechnology.

Farmers and gardeners have been creating plant hybrids for as long as they’ve been growing plants. Biotechnology simply serves as a more technologically advanced method.

USDA says that while particular biotech traits may be new to certain crops, the same basic types of traits are often found naturally in plants and allow them to survive and evolve.

What do we know about GMO food safety?

Every plant improved through the use of food biotechnology is examined by the FDA and EPA for potential health risks. Tests are done on plants before entering the food and animal feed supply. The World Health Organization (WHO) reports that current foods containing biotech ingredients have passed human health risk assessments. In addition, the WHO says no effects on human health have been shown as a result of the consumption of biotech foods. Source:

Conventional versus Organic Foods

Should I always try to buy organic foods?

Organic does not necessarily mean a healthier product. In fact, a comprehensive review of some 400 scientific papers on the health impacts of organically grown foods, published in the journal Critical Reviews in Food Science and Nutrition, concluded organic and conventional food remain equally healthy.

All foods – whether organic or nonorganic – must meet certain health and safety regulations before being sold to consumers. Several U.S. government agencies, including the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), monitor the food production chain through regulations and inspections from farm to fork to ensure that all food is safe.

Understanding what classifies food as organic is complex. The production processes involved in growing or raising food qualify it as organic, not the final product itself. Organic classification should not be an automatic green light indicating the quality or safety of a product.

Is organic food more nutritious?

The USDA, which certifies organic production, makes no claims that organically grown food is more nutritious than conventionally grown food. Organic food proves to be only different in how it is grown, handled and processed.

In the case of milk, stringent government standards include testing all types of milk for antibiotic and other residues to ensure that both organic milk and conventional milk remain equally pure, safe and nutritious. Organic or traditional, all milk contains the same valuable nutrients.

Soybean Estrogens

Whole soybeans provide isoflavones, which are plants’ natural pytoestrogens and different from human estrogen. Isoflavones often block the action of estrogen and thus have a positive role in lowering incidence of breast cancer.

Isoflavone intake for the average U.S. person is only 2.35 mg/day. Often the soy ingredients added to many foods are soy oil and lecithin, which do not contain isoflavones.

Concerns that Americans are exposed to large amounts of isoflavones because soy is added to a number of commonly consumed foods aren’t borne out by the data. The total mean intake of isoflavones in Asian countries ranges from 25 to 50 mg/d, with a small proportion (10%) consuming as much as 100 mg/d.

– See more at:

Can we have food AND fuel? Yes!

Half of the biodiesel produced in the US is made from soybean oil. The other half is produced substantially from animal fats, used cooking oil, and other recycled or waste oils.

It is easy to see how using wastes and byproducts to make biodiesel is a good thing, but some people have trouble understanding that using soybean oil works the exact same way. Biodiesel uses excess oil that we don’t use in our food supply. In doing so, biodiesel improves the economics of providing a healthy mix of protein, carbohydrates, and fat that we do use in our food supply.

Let’s start with soybean basics. Soybeans are the most efficient crop for producing protein. Protein demand drives the planting of soybeans. Soybeans are crushed to separate the protein meal from the oil. Every soybean is approximately 20% oil and 80% protein meal. Protein meal is fed to livestock and consists of approximately 50% pure protein while also containing significant amount of carbohydrate energy and dietary fiber. From this meal, livestock receive a balance of required nutrients. This diet may be supplemented with some fat. However, the soybean oil produced with every bean is far in excess of the fat that is fed to livestock. – See more at:

– See more at:

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An update on Wildlife Damage from our friends at Maryland Farm Bureau:

Governor Hogan’s Team Offers Relief to Farmers Suffering Crop Damage

Preventing bear and deer damage to crops was the topic at a recent meeting between Farm Bureau members and DNR officials. At the direction of Governor Larry Hogan, DNR staff have been meeting regularly with Farm Bureau’s Wildlife Management Committee to hammer out more efficient control options.

At last week’s meeting – the second of three hosted by MFB this fall – DNR unveiled draft plans for a Bear Crop Depredation Permit, night control options under the Deer Depredation Permit, a streamlined Cooperators Permit for farmers and DNR Managed Hunt opportunities for maximum deer herd reduction.

The Bear Permit is available this fall for farmers who work with the regional DNR office. The other programs will be finalized and rolled out before the end of the year. DNR staff will answer questions at Monday’s breakout session during Farm Bureau’s convention on December 4 in Ocean City.

Governor Hogan pledged to work with us on better wildlife control options in January while meeting with our Board in his State House offices. He reiterated his promise during a summer visit with the MFB Board and County Presidents. Farm Bureau leaders are pleased with the attention paid to the number one complaint of members around the state – the unreasonable loss of crops to under-managed deer, bear and other wildlife populations.

The October meeting included farmers from the lower Eastern Shore with concerns about Sika deer and mid-shore farmers battling whitetail deer. Garrett and Allegany producers discussed bear problems and deer challenges, particularly on farms surrounded by state owned land. Frederick and Carroll farmers outlined the steps they are already taking, which maximize current control methods allowed by the state, but are just not providing enough relief. Anne Arundel and Prince George’s farmers expressed frustration over trying to manage deer in heavily populated areas and the need for cooperation and flexibility by DNR police.

As the new deer and bear control options are rolled out this fall, Farm Bureau will weigh in on behalf of our members. We will share the draft plans through the Government Relations Bulletin and on our website as they are unveiled. Please contact Colby Ferguson at Farm Bureau for more information. He can be reached at or 1-800-248-9012. In the meantime, here are a few links to existing DNR resources that may be helpful as you explore management options:

Locations to donate venison
Maryland Cooperative Wildlife Management Areas
Checking kills into the DNR Mobile App
Deer Management Permit general conditions
2017 Maryland Hunting and Trapping Guide
DNR can bring dogs out to the field to chase bear damaging crops in Western MD Counties. Contact Harry Spiker, Black Bear Project Leader, 301-334-4255
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