Seed World

USDA Announces Amendments to the U.S. Standards for Soybeans

On July 14, the USDA announced that it was removing “Soybeans of Other Colors” (SBOC) as an official grade-determining factor under the U.S. Standards for Soybeans, according to a release.

“Soybeans of Other Colors” was a grading factor established under the soybean standards for the U.S. Grain Standard Standards Act to help market soybeans. According to the University of Minnesota Twin Cities Extension office, the U.S. Federal Grain Inspection Service (FGIS) says under that ruling, No. 1 yellow soybeans are allowed up to 1% soybeans of other colors, which has been a general term to note any soybean with off-colored seed coats.

One of the problems, the Extension notes, is as of May 2022, around 32% of FGIS soybean certificates included SBOC greater than 1 % — meaning nearly 1/3 of soybean samples didn’t make U.S. No. 1 soybeans due to off-colored beans.

Following numerous requests from representatives of U.S. soybean producers and grain traders to remove SBOC as a grade-determining factor for describing the quality of yellow soybeans, USDA published a proposed rule in the Federal Register on March 31, 2023, inviting the public to comment on the proposal. The USDA received 14 comments in total, all in favor of a change to the standards.

The new change is effective as of Sept. 1, 2023, but the SBOC will remain available for informational purposes only upon request.