Upon harvest, most soybeans are crushed to produce either soybean oil or soybean meal, however, some whole soybeans are roasted and eaten as snacks or used in foods such as tofu. Soybean meal is the largest source of protein for livestock and soybean oil is used in oils, salads, and margarine. Soybean oil is the largest source of vegetable oil in the United States.
Futures contract in soybeans are traded on the Chicago Board of Trade, in quantities of 5000 bushels and are used by both end users for price protection and speculators who wish to profit. Cash prices for Soybeans currently average about $9.00 per bushel, with 3.2 billion bushels supplied and total usage (demand) of about 3 billion, for a market surplus of 200 million bushels. The United States is the world’s largest producer and exporter of soybeans.