History of Soybeans and Soyfoods in Missouri (1855-2022)

William Shurtleff, Akiko AoyagiISBN: 978-1-948436-68-7

Publication Date: 2022 Jan. 29

Number of References in Bibliography: 2994

Earliest Reference: 1855

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Brief Chronology of Soybeans and Soyfoods in Missouri

1855 Nov. – Frederick Munch, of Marthasville, Warren County, Missouri, writes a letter to the Agricultural Division of the Patent Office: "The Japan pea [an early name for the soy bean] is one of the finest looking vegetables in the garden, grows prolific [sic], bears well, is not injured by insects, & requires but moderate attention; our season is just long enough to have it fully matured."

Note: This is the earliest document seen (Jan. 2022) concerning soybeans in Missouri, or the cultivation of soybeans in Missouri. This document contains the earliest date seen for soybeans in Missouri, or the cultivation of soybeans in Missouri (Nov. 1855). First cited by Graff 1949.

1858 March – A man with the initials J.S. from Pomona, Missouri, writes an article titled “The Japan Pea” in The Valley Farmer: Starting with about ½ cup, he grew Japan peas in 1856 and 1857, both of which were drought years. “My opinion of this pea is that it is a very valuable acquisition to our agricultural products, principally on account of its capacity to sustain itself through a protracted drouth... As there is considerable diversity of opinion respecting the edible qualities of the Japan pea, I will state that the whole of my family, together with all persons (with one exception) who have eaten at my table pronounce them superior to all other pulse, and I apprehend that the reason why many persons dislike them is on account of improper or imperfect cooking; for they require to be cooked much longer than other pulse. All kinds of graminiverous animals, and all kinds of fowl eat them with avidity; but whether they possess fattening qualities equal to corn or other cereals, has yet to be tried.”

1894 Jan. 8 – The Robinson-Danforth Commission Co. is incorporated in St. Louis, Missouri. The founders, William H. Danforth (lived 1870-1955), George Robinson, and William Andrews belong to the same church. The original capitalization is $12,000. The company begins by making horse and mule feed; their product is mixed with shovels on the floor of a back room.

1896 March – W.H. Danforth becomes president of the company and on May 26 of that year he becomes the majority stockholder. The next day the mill is completely destroyed by the worst tornado in St. Louis’ history. “Will Danforth went to the bank and negotiated a loan solely on the strength of his determination to make good. From these beginnings grew the Ralston Purina Company, and the man William H. Danforth” (Ralston Purina Co. 1978. Oct. “William H. Danforth.” News release).

1925 – Dannen Mills is founded by Henry L. Dannen as a grain marketing business in St. Joseph Missouri (St. Joseph News Press. 1963. Sept. 1, p. 1).

1933 June – The earliest known commercial soy product made in Missouri is soybean oil (and meal) made by Ralston Purina in St. Louis, Missouri.

1939 Feb. 22 – Dannen Mills begins crushing soybeans on St. Joseph, Missouri (St. Joseph Gazette. Feb. 23, p. 3).

1966 Feb. 9 – The Missouri Soybean Association is organized at Columbia, Missouri (Soybean Digest. 1966. March, p. 6).

1970 July – Far-Mar-Co., Inc. starts making Ultra-Soy, an extruded, textured defatted soy flour in St. Joseph, Missouri (Food Processing {Chicago}. 1970. July 28).

1978 Oct. 16 – The American Soybean Association (ASA) opens new offices at 777 Craig Road in St. Louis, Missouri, after closing its previous headquarters in Hudson, Iowa. ASA’s new CEO is Kenneth Bader, PhD (St. Louis Post Dispatch. 1978. Oct. 16, p. 3).

1979 – The quality of soy protein is shown convincingly to be of the highest, a complete protein, equal to that of milk, eggs or meat – but with no cholesterol (Wilcke, Hopkins & Waggle, eds. Soy Protein and Human Nutrition).

1980 April – Light Foods, founded by Bob Davis, begins making soyfoods (starting with tofu) at 6144 Bartmer, St. Louis, Missouri. He is soon making an innovative line soyfoods, including Light Links (meatless tofu hot dogs).

1991 Sept. 13 – Kenlon Johannes begins publishing SoyNotes, a newsletter about soy biodiesel from Jefferson City, Missouri.

1993 JuneSoy Connection: Health and Nutrition News about Soy, starts to be published by the United Soybean Board from Chesterfield, Missouri. Mark Messina, PhD, is editor.

1994 Nov. – ASA Today starts to be published by the American Soybean Association (St. Louis, Missouri). A glossy, color, 8-page newsletter for ASA members.

1994 Dec. – Biodiesel Report starts to be published by the National Biodiesel Board in Jefferson City, Missouri. The former title was Biodiesel Alert.

1996 – Monsanto Corp. of St. Louis, Missouri, introduces Roundup Ready (genetically engineered) soybeans (New York Times. 1996. March 3).

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