GHS to Dedicate Historical Marker to the Introduction of the Soybean to North America

Savannah, Ga., January 7, 2016 – The Georgia Historical Society will unveil a historical marker commemorating the introduction of the soybean to North America this Saturday, January 9, 2016.

“It is important to recognize the value of soybeans and their North American origins in Georgia, and Chatham County in particular,” said Dr. W. Todd Groce, President and CEO of the Georgia Historical Society. “What began as a small crop, on a local farm, is now one of the most widely grown and lucrative cash crops in the United States and plays a key role in American agra-business both domestically and abroad.”

Speakers for the dedication will include Dr. Roger Boerma, Executive Director Georgia Seed Development; The Honorable Gary Black, Georgia Commissioner of Agriculture; Dr. Ted Hymowitz, Emeritus Professor, University of Illinois; Mr. James Lee Adams, former President of American Soybean Association; and Elyse Butler from the Georgia Historical Society.

The marker will be unveiled by Mr. Walter Godwin, President, GA/FL Soybean Association, Mr. Greg Mims, Chairman, GA Soybean Commodity Commission, Mr. Richard Wilkins, President, American Soybean Association

The dedication will be held at the Skidaway Institute of Oceanography McGowan Library Auditorium at 2:00 p.m. The media and the public are invited to attend the ceremony and unveiling. A private reception for members of the American Soybean Association and invited guests will follow in the lobby of the McGowan Library.

The marker reads:

The Introduction of the Soybean to North America

In 1764, Samuel Bowen, a former seaman employed by the East India Company, brought soybeans (Chinese vetch) to the Georgia colony from China via London. Not having land available to sow seeds, Bowen asked Henry Yonge, the Surveyor-General of Georgia, to plant what is believed to be the first North American soybean crop in the spring of 1765. Yonge’s property, Orangedale, was located nearby on Skidaway Island. Bowen’s successful cultivation led to a 1769 patent for the production of soy sauce for exportation to England. Soybeans in Georgia were soon eclipsed by other crops, and not widely cultivated in North America until the late 19th century. But since the 1940s, soybeans have become one of the most widely grown and lucrative cash crops in the United States.

Erected by the Georgia Historical Society, the Georgia/Florida Soybean Association, and the Georgia Agricultural Commodity Commission for Soybeans