[r85] Pond Report: Indiana State Fair 2011: The Year of the Soybean (8/4/2011)

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Start Date: 8/4/2011 All Day
End Date: 8/4/2011
The theme for the 2011 Indiana State Fair is the "Year of the Soybean." The fair will run from Aug. 5 through 21 and will incorporate the soybean in a variety of different ways.   What you may not realize is how big of an impact soybeans have on Indiana's agricultural industry. Hoosier farmers produce 244 million bushels of soybeans annually which contribute $2.5 billion to the state's economy.

Indiana ranks fifth in overall soybean production and third in soybean processing in comparison to all other states. The importance of this crop to our state makes it a great theme for this year's fair.

Soybeans consist of both proteins and oil, which are good for many uses such as feeding animals or to create soy based candles, paints and biodiesels. This is not the first time the fair has chosen its theme based on an Indiana commodity. Featured in the past were corn, trees, tomatoes and hogs.

Being that the soybean is the focus of the fair, there will be many displays and activities set up celebrating that theme.  Some of the exhibits to attend are the Incredible Soybean Exhibit, the Soybean Mural in the Ellison Bakery Home and Family Arts Building, Habitat for Humanity Home Build which was created with soybean products and the Indiana Soybean and Cornhole Toss Tourney which will be presented by the Indiana Corn and Soybean Farmers.

Soybeans will even be incorporated into the food offered at the fair. The signature dish this year will be deep-fried ice cream.  It features a soy meal coating and is fried in soybean oil. Even the waffle bowl cone that the ice cream is served in is made with soy.

Many consume soy foods on a regular basis but are just unaware of it. Chicken, beef and pork can all be considered soy foods. Ninety percent of the U.S. soybean crop growing in fields is fed in the form of soybean meal to pigs, chickens, cows and other animals.

This year also marks a significant milestone for Indiana 4-H Foundation as they celebrate 50 years of highly successful 4-H programs. Make sure to join in the fun of celebrating the accomplishments of Indiana's 4-H youth who will be exhibiting or visiting the State Fair.

The fair is a great reminder of the influence that agriculture has on the Hoosier state. The agricultural industry in Indiana has an approximate $24.9 billion dollar impact. It is important for us to realize this and learn more about one of the crops that make this number a reality.

Soybeans truly are an important commodity to our state. The fair has chosen a wonderful crop to highlight this year and we are fortunate to have such a strong agriculture community in our state.