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College Students Connect Through Collegiate Biobased Network (CBN)

Contributor II
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By United Soybean Board (USB)

Innovation and Agriculture Grow Together for Those Who "Think Soy"

“Biobased products have the potential to help our nation further distance itself from its dependence on imported petroleum,” said Kyle Thompson, a student at Michigan State University in East Lansing.

By joining the Collegiate Biobased Network (CBN), Thompson has connected with students and manufacturers who share his views.

“Becoming more energy-independent and reducing our environmental footprint are top priorities for me,” added Thompson, who is pursuing a master’s degree in chemical engineering. “Biobased products are critical to achieving those goals.”

CBN member Allie George, Georgia Tech undergraduate studying civil engineering, environmental track, helps build a water distribution system in Nicaragua. For Allie, using biobased products that last and don't harm the environment are essential.

From chemistry and premedicine, to engineering and earth science, students from a range of academic disciplines have united in the CBN. The United Soybean Board (USB) launched this professional-development program at no charge to students so they can gain information and networking opportunities. Through CBN, USB hopes to educate and engage the next generation of biobased leaders.

“CBN students have the foresight to prepare for biobased jobs as well as support use of the many products that are already available,” said USB farmer-leader Sharon Covert, an Illinois soybean farmer.

The program keeps members informed about the latest developments in biobased products, including sustainability, research, federal and state procurement programs and available products.

The CBN is open to students in all disciplines. Members receive regular updates on biobased developments, webinars on biobased topics, and networking and mentoring opportunities, and can participate in the annual USB Biobased Products Stakeholders’ Workshop. They also may choose to display and present biobased research posters at selected events.

The Collegiate Biobased Network connects students with biobased industry leaders and fellow interested students.

Covert pointed out that a number of CBN students are already conducting cutting-edge biobased research. Click here to view interviews with these students.

All college and graduate students are invited to join CBN by visiting

Or stop by Booth G at the Sustainable Chemistry & Engineering Conference, June 18-20, at the Bethesda North Marriott Hotel and Conference Center.

George Washington Carver and Henry Ford helped pioneer biobased products in America through their work with soy. Today, U.S. companies offer hundreds of biobased products made from soy. Furniture, carpet backing, flooring, paints and stains, cleaning supplies, industrial solvents, adhesives, printing inks and toners, automotive parts, tires, transformer oils and energy-efficient insulation and roofing materials make up just a partial list of the many products made by innovative, environmentally conscious developers who "think soy."

To learn more and obtain a list of soy-based products, go to or

The 69 farmer-directors of USB oversee the investments of the soy checkoff to maximize profit opportunities for all U.S. soybean farmers. These volunteers invest and leverage checkoff funds to increase the value of U.S. soy meal and oil, to ensure U.S. soybean farmers and their customers have the freedom and infrastructure to operate, and to meet the needs of U.S. soy’s customers. As stipulated in the federal Soybean Promotion, Research and Consumer Information Act, the USDA Agricultural Marketing Service has oversight responsibilities for USB and the soy checkoff.