Step up: Mower County farmers step up with new campaign – Austin Daily Herald

Step up: Mower County farmers step up with new campaign

Posted 4:51 p.m. on Monday, September 19, 2022

From the farm to the frontline, the Minnesota Soybean Research & Promotion Council (MSR&PC) is taking another giant leap to highlight environmentally responsible investments from the soybean levy.

Mower County Soybean Growers, in partnership with MSR&PC, which leads the state’s soybean levy resources, launched the Stepping Up campaign to amplify farmer profitability and promote value-added uses of the crop while by connecting with the community.

On the heels of Driving Soy’s successful promotion, Minnesota counties are gearing up to promote value-added renewable soy products and give back to frontline healthcare workers in their counties.

The Sketchers shoes were unboxed outside Wildwood Grove in LeRoy recently. Photo provided

“It was a great campaign to be involved in,” said Joel Nelson, chairman of the Mower County Corn & Soybean Board. “We all know a healthcare worker in our county, and that was our way of saying ‘thank you’.”

As part of the Stepping Up promotional effort, Mower County is donating 50 pairs of Skechers soy-based GO shoes to Wildwood Grove.

“Wildwood Grove staff have gone above and beyond for more than two years to keep our residents safe and healthy during this very difficult time with COVID-19,” Wildwood Grove Administrator Diana Whalen said. “We are grateful to Mower County soybean growers for nominating Wildwood Grove for this program. It means a lot to our staff to be recognized and recognized for the work they have done. The shoes are the perfect gift for our staff as they are on their feet every day.

The Stepping Up campaign runs throughout the summer. The statewide effort strives to educate both the farm and non-farm public about the environmental benefits of soybeans and the myriad uses of soybean oil. County leaders also want to show their appreciation to healthcare workers in their community.

“We know how much health care workers are sacrificing for others in Minnesota communities, especially over the past two years. I saw it with my own eyes,” said board chairman Joe Serbus, whose wife, Doreen, has worked in healthcare for more than 40 years. “This campaign is an investment in both value-added soy products and the selfless healthcare professionals who keep us safe and healthy.

A step above the rest

In 2020, Skechers launched its GO shoe line, which uses soybean oil to improve grip, stability and durability. Skechers uses the same levy-supported technology found in the Goodyear Tire Company’s line of sustainable soybean tires, which has incorporated soybeans into its rubber technology.

Kurt Stockbridge, vice president of product development and innovation at Skechers, said the company and the Soy Levy are stepping up their efforts to create a premium shoe and reduce their environmental footprint.

“Discovering ways to make products more sustainable is a priority for Skechers,” Stockbridge said. “Although we are aware of the long-lasting qualities of soybean oil, we were surprised to learn what the oil could do to improve the performance of our outsole rubber.”

For every dollar Mower County soybean growers pay for uptake resources, growers receive an estimated return value of $12.33. Today, More than 1,000 commercially available products – ranging from footwear to machinery lubricants to asphalt – use high oleic acid basestocks and soybean oil.

“Once the soy gets to the factory, it’s local, it’s national — it’s everywhere,” said Belinda Burrier, director of United Soybean who helped oversee the partnership with Skechers. “The money the farmers make from the levy is fantastic.”

Follow the Stepping Up social media campaign at #SoySteppingUp and by visiting

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