Coming to the Center for Soy Innovation makes way for educational opportunities that highlight the use of the diverse and adaptable soybean plant.
There are a lot of cool places to visit around the Show-Me State, but none of them are quite like the Center for Soy Innovation (CFSI).
In agriculture, it’s often stressed that consumers don’t know where their food truly comes from, and it’s the same scenario with all products used in daily life from diesel fuel to industrial products. Consumers use soy-based products daily but never know it. That’s why Missouri soybean farmers invested in CFSI.
Education is a core focus of the Missouri Soybean Merchandising Council (MSMC) and its farmer leaders. With education top of mind, the checkoff voted to devote dollars in the self-proclaimed “Center that soy built.”
On the brink of a global pandemic, Missouri’s soybean farmers broke ground on the South Country Club Drive property in July 2018. Nearly two years later, CFSI opened its doors to farmers, industry partners, community members and neighbors with a grand opening ceremony only to immediately lock up for a nationwide shutdown.
With Missouri Soybeans’ boards of directors and staff anxious to show off the new facility to those far and wide, they took the time during the pandemic to cultivate an immersive experience for groups of all ages to enjoy when they were able to welcome back the public.
In the interim, the Missouri Soybeans team worked diligently to develop creative ways to bring CFSI to people virtually. While the virtual experience worked for a period, staff unanimously agreed nothing beats the hands-on engagement and warm, inviting experience a tour at CFSI provides.
Today, Missouri Soybeans has hosted thousands of people at the Center from across the globe – literally. While most of the Center’s visitors are local industry partners, as well as school field trips, CFSI has welcomed visitors from New Hampshire to Mexico, Uruguay and Honduras.
There’s a reason people travel from across the globe to see the “Center that soy built.” Quite literally everything in the Center is made from soy. From the moment visitors step out of their vehicles — with their comfortable soybased foam seats and biodiesel-fueled engines — onto the soy-based asphalt, about everything they look at is made with the magic bean.
Heading into the building, visitors step across a bright green strip of SYNLAWN’s soy-based turf, right before walking into the bold grain bin entrance. Look right and they’ll see the boiler room showcasing the biodieselfueled water heater and heating system. If the visitor looks left, they’ll see the conference room floor covered with Signature’s soy-based carpet, along with the bright red SherwinWilliams’ paint made with our state’s most prominent crop – soybeans.
There are countless other pieces around the building highlighting all the ways soy is an ingredient – countertops, windowsills, tires, shoes, desks and stains. In order to truly appreciate all the ways that soy is incorporated, an in-person tour of the Center is a must.
There’s more to the Center than just highlighting soy products. There are several educational exhibits that are fun for both adults and children, including a once-in-use diesel pump that shows a video on biodiesel basics, an activity table that allows visitors to select a meal of their choosing and discover the many food crops each Missouri county produces, display cases highlighting the growth stages of soybeans, a soy-based putting green and much more. Just recently, the building got a new piece of wall art was installed. Featuring Missouri Soybeans’ mascots, Simon and Soymantha, the mural shows everything from planting to the many final uses of the versatile crop.
The Center is a perfect destination for school field trips and a prime venue for meetings and small conferences. Located right in mid-Missouri, CFSI offers two conference rooms, top-notch AV capabilities, additional workspaces, and spacious indoor and outdoor spaces. No matter the group or purpose for visiting CFSI, the organization’s promise is that visitors will leave thinking differently about soybeans.
Missouri Soybeans continues to find ways to implement new soy-based products in the building, whether that’s through soy application or showcasing a piece on the wall of new uses. Working with educators, farmers and visitors, the Missouri Soybeans’ team is better able to develop new ideas for exhibits and activities.
There’s nothing else like the Center for Soy Innovation in the Show-Me State. The next time you’re traveling to Jefferson City, thinking about planning a school field trip or simply want to pop in for a brief visit, consider the Center for Soy Innovation. We would love to have you.
To schedule a visit, please reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org.