Soy farmers in Missouri see new opportunities on the greens with their investment in the future of a soy-based golf ball – a ball starting at Pittsburg State University’s Kansas Polymer Research Center, where students of the Polymer Chemistry Initiative learn alongside scientists.
The Missouri Soybean Merchandising Council announced the research this summer as one of its Soy Check-off-sponsored projects, where farmers contribute half a percent of the sale price of their soybeans to research, promotion and education.
The research is led by Associate Professor Ram Gupta, who has focused on numerous value-adding uses of soy-based materials in recent years, including a new battery, biodiesel, and a type of non-flammable foam.
“In this project, we’re focusing on developing cores for golf balls from soy-based materials, including soy meal, and making a soy-based skin,” said Gupta. “Our team will even run performance tests and prepare the golf balls for commercial sale.”
A bonus: they’re biodegradable – helpful for those balls that get lost in lakes, ponds, rough, and sand pits.
Soybeans are # 1 in Missouri and one of the top 10 in Kansas.
“Research is a cornerstone of our pursuit of innovative solutions to the challenges we face as farmers,” said Kyle Durham, farmer and chairman of the Missouri Soybean Merchandising Council. “Collaboration and partnerships are vital to maximize 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.”