U.S. Soybean Farmers Go Beyond the Elevator with High Oleic

High Oleic French Fries

No trans fats, less saturated fat and longer fry life are some of the customer- and industry-facing benefits of high oleic soy oil, a product many have dubbed a game-changer for the U.S. soybean industry.

But many farmers still want to hear about high oleic from another farmer’s prospective.

John Motter, United Soybean Board (USB) director and soybean farmer from Jenera, Ohio, recently talked about his experience growing high oleic soybeans the past two years and why he thinks U.S. soybean farmers should care about the new trait.

Q: How did your high-oleic soybean crop compare with other varieties?

A: Last year, when we started growing the trait, about 20 percent of our beans were high oleic. They did so well that this year we planted high oleic on 85 percent of our fields. High oleic was my second-highest-yielding bean out of about five different varieties.

Q: What are the consumer benefits that come with the high-oleic varieties?

A: Consumers have become more health-conscious, especially about trans and saturated fats, so food companies have moved away from partially-hydrogenated commodity soy oil. High oleic oil has no trans fats and fewer saturated fats than conventional soy oil. All of these consumer benefits give U.S. soy a chance to make up lost edible oil market share and increase farmer returns.

Q: What would you say to farmers who are considering growing high-oleic?

A: As growers we have to look beyond the elevator. We need to understand what our customers need and fulfill that need. And the companies that are developing these varieties are using their best genetics so the trait won’t have an effect on yield. Farmers shouldn’t be resistant to high oleic because of perceptions of yield – they’re performing in my fields.