Farm Progress

Playing the long game 4

The long and the short of it: high oleic soybeans offer immediate gains and long-term demand for Iowa farmers

Farming is like any other family business. You make day-to-day decisions on what’s best for your business right now. But you are also focused on the long-term, making decisions that will ensure your business’s viability for the next generation.

Some northern Iowa soybean farmers have a marketing opportunity that fits very well with this business acumen.

High oleic soybeans offer farmers premium opportunities to impact their business now, with long-term customer potential to reach 18 million acres, which would make it the fourth-largest grain and oilseed crop in the United States, behind corn, commodity soybeans and wheat.

As acreage expands, more Illinois farmers will get the opportunity to plant high oleic soybeans.

Premiums average around 45 cents per bushel, but vary depending on location. It is the premium that attracted Delbert Christensen, a soybean farmer and soy checkoff farmer-leader from Audubon.

“Since these varieties yield the same, farmers will see high oleic as a profitable opportunity,” he says.

Now Christensen sees the long-term business potential of high oleic soybeans.

“Any time we have another market for our oil, that will bring value to our communities,” he says. “These varieties have been proven in other markets for years; now it’s time for farmers in our state to step up and spread the success.”

Changes in federal policy and consumer attitudes to trans fats have cost soybean farmers more than 4 billion pounds in soybean demand. But high oleic soybeans have zero trans fats, so it is poised to win back that lost market volume without taking away demand for commodity soybean oil, which still meets the needs of many food and industrial customers.

Today, high oleic soybeans are grown on more than 625,000 acres – primarily in Indiana, Ohio and Michigan, and including areas of Nebraska, Minnesota, Iowa, Illinois, Pennsylvania, New Jersey and the Delmarva Peninsula.

With so many states teaming up with Iowa to grow soybeans, the food industry is taking notice of high oleic soybeans. New locations are being added every year, and current programs are expanding their offerings.

Though high oleic soybeans are a soft identity preserved (IP) product, Christensen was pleased with the grain handling and delivery options.

“The premiums more than make up for what limited handling procedures are required,” he says. “We’re excited to get high oleic moving westward so my fellow Iowa farmers can see their profit potential firsthand.”

Farmers can find locations requesting high oleic soybeans and their delivery options at


©2017 United Soybean Board

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