Soybeans are among the major agricultural crops planted in the United States, behind only corn. They belong to the oilseed crops category and most U.S. soybeans are planted in May and early June and are harvested in late September and October. Production practices show that U.S. farmers commonly grow soybeans in crop rotation with corn. More than 80 percent of soybeans are cultivated in the upper Midwest. The Unites States counted Illinois, Iowa and Minnesota as their leading soybean producing states as of November 2016.
Historical data shows that large-scale soybean production did not begin until the 20th century in the United States. However, recent statistics illustrate that the acreage of the dominant oilseed crop has expanded rapidly. The expansion of soybean acreage was favored by several factors including low production costs and a greater number of 50-50 corn-soybean rotations. Furthermore, soybeans were one of the first crop types that achieved commercial success as bioengineered crops. The first genetically modified (GM) soybeans were planted in the United States in 1996. They possess a gene that confers herbicide resistance.
The usage of soybeans ranges from the animal food industry over human consumption to non-food products. The highest percentage of soybeans goes to the animal feed industry. The products intended for human consumption include products such as soy milk, soy flour or tofu.