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Oklahoma has a new state legume

Soybeans are planted in the spring and harvested in the fall, according to the Oklahoma Soybean Board.
Todd Johnson
OSU Agricultural Communications Services
Soybeans are planted in the spring and harvested in the fall, according to the Oklahoma Soybean Board.

Soybeans are used in everything from animal feed to soy burgers to the famous salty, brown condiment that bears their name. Now they have the honor of becoming Oklahoma’s latest state symbol.

Gov. Kevin Stitt signed House Bill 2248 designating the soybean as Oklahoma’s state legume into law earlier this week.

The bean now joins Oklahoma's long list of symbols including the strawberry, the state fruit, and watermelon, the state vegetable, as a state symbol.

It all started when teachers from Morrison Public Schools wanted to make the soybean the state’s legume after seeing other items being added to the state’s symbol list.

Fourth grade teacher Amber Bales is one of the educators and she is heavily involved in the Oklahoma Agriculture in the Classroom Program. She now teaches at Will Rogers Elementary in Stillwater.

“We were trying to come up with what can we change,” Bales said. “And so we thought of the soybean and how important the soybean is especially in our area and Noble County and in the state for that matter.

In 2022, there were 1,110 soybean farms in Oklahoma, according to the latest Census of Agriculture from the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Bales said she incorporated the process into teaching her students about soybeans and their importance, and the steps a bill has to take to become law and perseverance.

“Well for my students, and they are very well versed, my firm belief is that everyone should know where their food, fiber and fuel comes from,” Bales said. “And when you do that, you are showing respect to a lot of people and how that is.”

For her, it’s thrilling for the bill to become law because this project has been three years in the making.

I mean, you just can't believe how much excitement it is because it's been so long,” Bales said. “And then we didn't even know this time it was going to be heard and signed.”