By the Numbers
How the glycine max—an innocuous member of the pea family—became the world’s most wildly important and environmentally damaging bean. And why China’s proposed levy on imports of the U.S. crop would be devastating to American farmers
385,000 square miles
Amount of the planet’s surface covered with soybean crops.
120 MILLION METRIC TONS
Amount projected for U.S. soy production this year, accounting for nearly half the global market ($22 billion in 2016), making it the largest producer, followed closely by Brazil.
Estimated global soybean derivatives market by 2020.
of U.S. soybeans are grown in the upper Midwest. Illinois topped the list in 2017 at more than 611 million bushels. Iowa, Minnesota, North Dakota and Nebraska made up the remaining top ɿve states.
Tariff that China plans to levy on imports of U.S. soybeans, a retaliation against the Trump administration’s trade policies. The result: Prices will fall and market share will go to Brazil.
Amount spent by China on soybeans. The country, which is unable to produce enough animal feed itself, consumes two-thirds of the world’s product, making it the largest importer. of soybeans are consumed by people. Three-quarters of the worldwide crop is used for animal feed.
Amount of protein in one cup of soybeans. Chicken, by comparison, contains 38 grams per cup. The irony: Vegans favor a food that is a prime source of feed for the animals meat-eaters love.
4,000 SQUARE MILES
Brazilian Amazon territory cleared for soybean ɿelds between 2001 and 2006, before the Soy Moratorium, an agreement by major purchasers to not buy soybeans grown on newly deforested land.
Number of pigs China feeds with soybeans.