‘Groundbreaking: A Story Of Innovation’ Unearths The Soybean’s Hidden Potential

From the food that billions of people rely on to the thousands of biobased consumer innovations like fuel that’s helping decarbonize our planet, get a glimpse into the soybean’s instrumental role in American history and humanity’s future

ST. LOUIS — On Saturday, June 22, a new documentary showcasing the unique innovative power of the soybean, GroundBreaking: A Story of Innovation, will premiere on A&E at 1 p.m. EDT. With an American origin story that dates back nearly 150 years, the soybean plant has evolved into a resource used by farmers, chemists, historians, chefs and astrobiologists. This story features experts diving into how soy unlocks sustainable, biobased alternatives, best-in-class performance, optimized nutrition for animals and humans alike and a viable future to empower space exploration.

“Throughout my travels, I’ve witnessed the infinite opportunities that soybeans can create,” said Jeff Houghton, the documentary’s host. “I’ve been astonished to see the magnitude of where and how soy can show up in the world. Through this story, we uncovered how something so small could have such a huge impact on the planet, from global trade to the food we consume to the clothes that we wear to the cars we drive.”

GroundBreaking: A Story of Innovation, visits nine states and talks to 15 experts about the past, present and future soybeans can create. Those stops include:

  • Skidway Island, Georgia, where the very first soybeans in America were brought over from China and planted by Samuel Bowen in the 1880s.
  • The Henry Ford Museum in Dearborn, Michigan, where seeking a crop that could yield great industrial value to him, Henry Ford created a prototype soybean car in 1941 with all of the major exterior body panels made out of soy-based plastic.
  • Farms in Arkansas and Indiana, where seed innovation enhances sustainability, reduces environmental impact and improves plant health and animal diets.
  • A Mars simulation at the Mauna Loa volcano in Hawaii, where the Hawaii Space Exploration Analog and Simulation explores soy as a crop that could potentially be used for future Mars missions by planting and researching soy in simulated Martian soil.
  • And additional visits to Kansas, Alabama, Pennsylvania and Michigan to explore how soy shows up at the KCBS World Invitational BBQ Contest, aquaculture farming at Auburn University, a Pittsburgh stains and coatings lab and the Detroit Grand Prix.

“As a soybean farmer, our primary goal is to grow a crop that replenishes the soil and nourishes the world through food, feed and other renewable products,” said Jim Douglas, a soybean, corn and pig farmer from Indiana featured in the documentary. “The soybean’s increasing versatility, driven by our ability to innovate and collaborate with industry and academic partners, will allow me to pass this land down to my son and leave a legacy of sustainability driven by the next generation.”

GroundBreaking: A Story of Innovation is a first-of-its-kind documentary exploring the future of agriculture and the wide scope of a single crop’s global potential, is funded by the half-million U.S. soybean farmers, like Jim, who invest in creating sustainable soy solutions for every life, every day. Soybeans are the United States’ number one agricultural export, producing one-third of global soy output, wielding incredible strength and stability for the U.S. economy – $124 billion to be exact.

One acre of soybeans, which equates to about 50 bushels or 3,000 pounds, is enough protein and oil to produce animal feed for 800 pounds of boneless chicken (which could feed 10 people for a year), 50 gallons of renewable diesel fuel (enough for a semitruck to travel from NYC to Pittsburgh) and two years of an average person’s vegetable oil consumption. Continued innovation is creating the potential for the soybean to serve as a catch-all fossil fuel replacement in the near future.

“On top of its many uses on Earth, the soybean’s potential on Mars is something we’re actively researching, due to its ability to grow in microgravity with very limited resources,” said Michaela Musilova, a Slovak astrobiologist currently operating at the Hawaii Space Exploration Analog and Simulation (HI-SEAS). “Soybeans are one of eight crops that could be used during long-duration space missions, and really serves as a Swiss Army knife due to its versatility.”

To learn more, visit ussoy.orgGroundBreaking: A Story of Innovation, produced by St. Louis-based Spot Content Studio and directed by Sam Pinkstone, will air on Saturday, June 22 at 1:00 p.m. EDT on A&E, however please check local listings. GroundBreaking: A Story of Innovation is also available to stream on the A&E App and aetv.com.

About U.S. Soy
Representing the positive global human impact of soy grown in the United States, the U.S. Soy brand exists to carry forward soy’s promise to transform global nutrition, provide climate-forward solutions, and support progress for people and their communities. U.S. Soy is powered by the innovation of the industry; the unsurpassed quality, reliability, and sustainability of the soybeans grown by our farming families who invest through checkoff dollars; and the commitment of the organizations that raise awareness, build demand, develop new markets, and discover new uses for soy and soy products. U.S. Soy envisions a world where soy is a fundamental ingredient in solving the broad challenges of humanity. To learn more about U.S. Soy visit ussoy.org.

About Spot Content Studio
Spot Content Studio, Inc. is an award-winning video production company that combines art and science to create compelling stories that educate and inform. Founded more than 20 years ago in St. Louis, Missouri, we believe the art of storytelling happens in every phase of the production process. Every person involved in our projects enriches the story’s creativity, details, and design through their skills and talents. Along with video production, Spot specializes in digital content creation and strategy, podcasts and live streaming. To learn more, visit www.spot.studio.