Missouri Soybeans develops soy-based golf balls

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Missouri Soybeans develops soy-based golf balls

The Missouri Soybean Merchandising Council has set itself the goal of developing soy-based golf balls as part of its efforts to fund innovative new products.

The project, one of several proposals funded by the Council this year, is in its early stages Pittsburg State University. Researchers will focus on developing cores for golf balls from soy-based materials, including soy meal, as well as making a soy-based skin. The team conducts performance tests and prepares the golf balls for sale.

“Research is a cornerstone of our pursuit of innovative solutions to the challenges we face as farmers,” said Kyle Durham, chairman of the board of directors for the Missouri Soybean Merchandising Council. “Collaboration and partnerships are critical to maximizing the effectiveness of our research funds, and it is exciting to see how creativity is used to grow our markets by developing new uses for the soybeans we grow.”

Dr. Ram Gupta, Associate Professor at the University, leads the project; Research and development is expected to take two years and cost more than $ 117,000.

Gupta plans to apply for a patent in partnership with the council once his research is complete.

The 13-member council receives proposals for projects for funding in the autumn and evaluates the applications during the rest of the year. Reviews are funded through the Soy Checkoff, a program in which farmers contribute half of 1 percent of the sale price of their crops to education, research and advertising. Funding for these new projects began on July 1st with the new fiscal year.

Gupta’s project is part of Missouri Soybeans’ mission to explore new uses and increase the demand for soy, in addition to public and educational efforts. Soybean growers are investing in a myriad of soy-based innovations, from biodiesel and food to new varieties and growing techniques.

Golf balls won’t be the only soy-based products rolling through Missouri; the Cole County Sheriffs Department tests Soy-based tires which have greater traction and durability compared to petroleum-based tires. The department installed their second set earlier this year and expects to request a third in the near future.

Cameron Gerber studied journalism at Lincoln University. Prior to Lincoln, he earned an associate degree from State Fair Community College. Cameron is from Eldon, Missouri.

Contact Cameron at cameron@themissouritimes.com.

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