State-Level Soy Checkoff Initiatives Align with United Soybean Board Research and Promotion Goals
The soybean varieties you plant wouldn’t be a perfect fit for your neighbor down the road, let alone for a farmer a few states away. The same could be said for some of the work your checkoff does to maximize returns for farmers. That’s why half of your soy checkoff funds are invested in work in your state. The strength and impact of the national soy checkoff is grounded in work and support from the farmer-led organizations that direct work at the state level: Qualified State Soybean Boards.
State and regional research, promotion and education efforts are tailored to the unique needs and opportunities farmers in the area face. Below are just a few examples of state soybean boards making your checkoff dollars work harder and smarter.
Minnesota Is Stepping Up
Long-standing partnerships between your soy checkoff and American companies like Goodyear® can lead to big steps for soy. One of those is an innovative tread now used in Skechers® shoes that uses soybean oil to increase their traction while lowering their carbon footprint. From farm to front line, the Minnesota Soybean Research & Promotion Council is highlighting this environmentally friendly investment by donating Skechers shoes to folks who are on their feet all day serving their communities: front line health care workers.
“As we continue to deal with the evolving pandemic, it is important for everyone to understand the sacrifices health care workers make to keep us all safe and healthy,” says Minnesota farmer and MSR&PC chair Joe Serbus, whose wife has been in health care for more than 40 years. “The ‘Stepping Up’ campaign is accomplishing our goal of recognizing and thanking health care workers while also publicizing an environmental friendly and value-added soybean product — Skechers shoes.”
Through the campaign, Minnesota’s 44 county soybean boards are eligible to donate up to 50 pairs of Skechers soy-based GO shoes to local hospitals, clinics, nursing homes and assisted living facilities.
Find Me Driving in Maryland
Every time you use rural roads to move equipment from field to field, you take a risk. And if drivers don’t know how best to share the road with slow-moving vehicles — or if farmers don’t take appropriate precautions — the outcomes can be tragic. In 2020, the U.S. fatality rate per 100 million miles traveled was 1.84 in rural areas compared to 1.08 in urban areas.
The Maryland Soybean Board is taking a proactive stance to raise awareness of farm equipment on Maryland roads while also reminding farmers about best practices they should implement as operators of slow-moving vehicles through their Find Me Driving road safety campaign.
“Saving lives and preventing loss of property are the goals of this campaign, and I commend MSB for their forward-thinking effort,” says Belinda Burrier, a soy checkoff farmer-leader from Union Bridge, Maryland. “Our state is small in land mass but ranks fifth in population density. That increases the chances Maryland motorists will encounter farm vehicles and other slow-moving equipment on public roads. I firmly believe this campaign will increase driver awareness of farm equipment on rural roads and contribute to the ongoing safety of all Maryland farmers, of which I’m proud to be one!”
Through national checkoff connections, 13 state soybean boards have participated in the program, sharing safety resources from the Find Me Driving campaign in their own states.
The Life of a Missouri Soybean
The Missouri Soybean Merchandising Council’s Center for Soy Innovation in Jefferson City takes visitors on an educational journey highlighting how soybeans touch their lives every day in seemingly endless ways.
The center connects the latest soybean innovations and technologies with farmers, industry partners and local communities. Hundreds of elementary school groups visit each year to increase their understanding and appreciation of soy. A recent addition to the center’s lobby wall is a huge mural illustrating a soybean’s growth stages, life cycle and many uses.
Similar to a children’s board game, the mural’s soybean characters, Simon and Soymantha, bring the crop to life and narrate the journey of the miracle bean from farm to fork and everything in between.
“The Center for Soy Innovation is impressive, and the addition of this mural not only complements the Center’s many exhibits but prepares visitors for an educational experience,” says Missouri Soybean Merchandising Council chair, Aaron Porter. “The Center is constructed with many soy-based building materials, proving the many ways our farmer-directed soy checkoff builds demand for U.S. soybeans. This mural extends and strengthens the soy checkoff’s reputation to our communities.”
Bringing Soybeans to Louisiana’s Roadsides
After the invention of the automobile in the turn of the 20th century, the number of roadside billboards soared. Today, they remain a popular way to deliver messaging to millions of motorists across the U.S.
This summer, the Louisiana Soybean and Grain Research and Promotion Board is capitalizing on the high visibility of billboards with important soy checkoff messaging for farmers and the millions of motorists driving across the Bayou State.
“We wanted to create messages around pressing issues in agriculture our soybean farmers are facing through programs also supported by the national soy checkoff,” says Charles Cannatella, LSGRPB chairman and national soy checkoff farmer-leader. “From general topics like road safety and sustainability to projects directly impacting Louisiana and beyond like river dredging and biofuels, we’re showing farmers and consumers the impact of soybeans for our state.”
If your summer road trip happens to pass through Baton Rouge, Shreveport or New Orleans, you will likely see one of the 40 billboards relaying the important work being done by Louisiana’s soybean farmers.