Soybean’s Potential

By James Videle

Could the soybean be the best possible food for us?  It may very well be.  A pound of boiled soybeans delivers 82.67g of protein, 463 mg of calcium and over 23 mg of iron, along with many other essential vitamins and minerals.  It may also be the most efficient source of protein that can be produced for us to consume anywhere in the world.

Consider these numbers:

Dry soybean production worldwide estimated for 2017/18 was 351.45 million metric tons (774.596 billion lbs.).  However, after soaking and boiling, the weight of the soybeans increases by 2.2x, so in actuality the world produces 1.714 trillion lbs. of soybean in its edible form.  If we take the above 82.67g of protein and multiply it by the amount of lbs. available, it can be concluded that the world produces 141.696 trillion grams of protein per year.

Currently there are just about 7.6 billion people in the world.  Given the amount of protein from soybeans produced currently, over 51g of protein are available per person per day, more than enough to meet everyone’s daily needs.  The problem is not that we do not produce enough food, the problem is that soybeans are distributed primarily to feed animals raised for their flesh, secretions, and eggs.

In the data of the Humane Party’s report “Animal-based Agriculture vs. Plant-based Agriculture:  A Multi-product Comparison,” we found from USDA reports that the United States produces annually 258.4 billion lbs. of soybeans and generates a net profit of -$5.5 billion.  That’s right, to grow soybeans in the United States the farmer is losing money at a rate of $.02 per pound.

Vegan-organic soybeans growing on a small scale farm, by James Videle

What if, instead of selling soybeans to feed animals for human consumption, we were to sell the soybeans directly for humans to eat, processing the soybeans as needed—in tofu, soy milk, tempeh, and other soy products?

To make an effective comparison, we would need to look at the profitability of dry beans produced in the United States, which are 100% fed to humans.  Dry beans make a profit of $.10 per pound, because specifically the revenue they generate is higher.  Dry beans generate a revenue of $.30 per pound where soybeans generate a revenue of $.13 per pound.  If soybeans were able to procure a revenue of $.30 per pound as do dry beans, soybeans would be profitable, incredibly so.  Net income would go up to $.15 per pound and total profit every year would be $38.76 billion.


So, by feeding soybeans to animals the entire collective of soybean farmers are losing $5.5 billion per year and are only able to survive by government subsidy ($2.27 billion) and increased debt ($385.2 billion), yet if soybeans were sold directly for human consumption and the beans were sold at exactly the same rate as other dry beans, the entire soybean farming collective would generate a profit of $38.76 billion.

Soybeans fed to animals raised -$5.5 billion

Soybeans fed to humans would raise $38.76 billion.

The animal agriculture industry in the United States is killing over nine billion sentient beings every year, 98% of all soybean meal produced domestically is fed to animals raised for food, and the farmers who are raising that soy are struggling to put food on their own tables.  It is borderline criminal that taxpayers should pay for an industry that is inefficient and animals pay for the collusion with their lives.

The soybean, which may well be one of the most perfect foods for us, could also potentially be one of the most profitable agricultural commodities.  The numbers don’t lie, only those that say we must eat animals do.

Vegan-organic soybeans growing on a small scale farm, by James Videle