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Rochester Farmer Provides Petroleum Alternative for Manufacturing

February 3, 2014

  02/04/14 Indiana farmers are growing a new product that creates an oil that could serve as a renewable alternative to petroleum in making motor oils and other lubricants – high oleic soybeans. These innovative soybeans have the potential to expand demand for a product grown in Indiana and decrease our country’s dependence on foreign oil.

“High oleic helps our soybean oil reach different markets in different areas than we originally had access to,” said Brett Hizer, who farms in Rochester. “There’s a huge amount of potential for industrial uses, and some are brand new to us.”

While soybean oil is already used in many everyday products, high oleic soybeans have better functionality for some industrial users. The oil from these soybeans lasts longer in high-heat situations, such as in engines, so it can meet an important performance need of motor oil manufacturers. An early adopter of this soybean oil, Environmental Lubricants Manufacturing, Inc. (ELM), is using the oil from high oleic soybeans in its industrial lubricant, UltraLube, and seeing the benefits.

“Before high oleic, we had to rely on chemical modification of commodity oil to increase stability, which added to costs,” said Lou Honary, chairman of ELM. “High oleic soybeans produce an oil with a natural stability that increases the lifetime of our products and is more desirable for formulators of grease and lubricants like us.”

This new soybean offers some manufacturers a more stable alternative and also has the potential to open up markets soybean farmers didn’t have access to before, increasing profitability and competitiveness for the entire industry. 

This new soybean has the potential to open up markets soybean farmers didn’t have access to before, increasing profitability and competiveness for the entire industry.

Not only that, high oleic soybeans are built with the same proven genetics farmers already plant in their fields. Hizer and other local farmers report that high oleic soybeans yield comparably with other varieties in their area. That’s good news for other soybean farmers considering planting high oleic.

Industrial researchers, seed companies and the United Soybean Board are still investigating all the potential uses for high oleic soybean oil in the industrial sector, and this is only the beginning.

Farmers interested in joining Hizer in this innovation should contact their local seed rep or elevator, or visit for more information.

The 70 farmer-directors of USB oversee the investments of the soy checkoff to maximize profit opportunities for all U.S. soybean farmers. These volunteers invest and leverage checkoff funds to increase the value of U.S. soy meal and oil, to ensure U.S. soybean farmers and their customers have the freedom and infrastructure to operate, and to meet the needs of U.S. soy’s customers. As stipulated in the federal Soybean Promotion, Research and Consumer Information Act, the USDA Agricultural Marketing Service has oversight responsibilities for USB and the soy checkoff.

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