Surprising Products Made from Agriculture

It’s that time of year when Ohio’s farmers are in the fields getting the ground prepared for planting season - some have even been lucky enough to start planting. The crops that will soon be planted – corn and soybeans - will not only be used for livestock feed, fuel (corn ethanol and soy biodiesel) and consumer food items, but they will also be used to make everyday consumer products as well. 

I’ve compiled a list below of some uses and products made from corn and soybeans that may surprise you.


  • Spark plugs:  Corn starch is used in the production of the special porcelain used to make spark plugs. 
  • Toothpaste: Sorbitol, which is produced from the corn sugar dextrose, is used in toothpaste as a low-calorie, water-soluble, bulking agent.
  • Cosmetics: When finely ground, corncobs are relatively dust free and very absorbent making them useful carriers for cosmetics.
  • Rubber tires: In the production of tires, corn starch is sprinkled on the molds before pouring the rubber to prevent the rubber from sticking to the molds.
  • Crayons: One acre of soybeans can produce 82,368 crayons. 
  • Elevators: The elevators in the Statue of Liberty use a soybean-based hydraulic fluid. 
  • Ink: Soy ink is being used in the printing of textbooks and newspapers. 
  • Cleaning products: Soy is used in everything from certain laundry detergent to carpet and upholstery shampoo.

The next time you purchase cleaning products or new rubber tires, you may want to thank a local farmer. To learn more about products made from corn and soybeans, visit or

Were you surprised by any of the items on this list? Is there any product that I missed that you believe is unique?

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