Driving Soy: Norman County farmers treading new ground with tire donation to sheriff’s department

Norman County farmers and their soybean checkoff dollars are giving back to local first responders this summer – and promoting the diverse uses of soybeans at the same time.

The Norman County Soybean and Corn Board have joined the Minnesota Soybean Research & Promotion Council (MSR&PC) and its 44 organized counties by utilizing Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company’s line of soy-oil tires to spotlight value-added products while also giving back to law enforcement agencies in their communities.  

Each organized county (Minnesota is the only state to support county-level soybean programs) will have the opportunity to donate a full set of Goodyear’s soy-based Eagle Enforcer All Weather tires – designed specifically for first responder vehicles traversing rugged climates like Minnesota’s – to their county sheriff’s department.  

Norman County Soybean/Corn Growers Treasurer David Swenson presents a check to Norman County Chief Deputy Ben Fall and Norman County Sheriff Jeremy Thornton

“Please realize that this donation not only helps the Norman County Sheriff’s Office, but it provides a benefit to all of the citizens of Norman County,” said Norman County Deputy Chief Ben Fall. “Keeping our fleet up-to-date with new tires is mission critical and our officers rely on their vehicles to help keep our communities safe. This contribution will help our deputies get where they need to go and keep them safe on the road.”

With COVID-19 gathering restrictions relaxing, the timing is ideal for the Council to drive its county program forward after a year marked by cancelled and postponed events. Promoting soybean oil via checkoff investments in renewable technology is the perfect vehicle to showcase the Council’s ongoing mission to improve farmer profitability and promote value-added products, said MSR&PC Chair Cole Trebesch.  

“There’s a high level of enthusiasm with our county boards for this campaign,” Trebesch said. “We all know summertime is fleeting in Minnesota, and after the hardships of the past year, our county boards are champing at the bit to promote our commodities and checkoff investments.”

Since 2017, Goodyear, supported by United Soybean Board checkoff investments, has released four lines of tires with soybean oil compounds: Assurance WeatherReady, Eagle Enforcer All Weather, Eagle Exhilarate and Assurance Comfort Drive. The Akron, Ohio-based company has increased its use of soybeans by 73% since 2018 and pledged to fully replace all of its petroleum-driven oils with soybean oil by 2040. The Enforcer tires will appeal to more than just law enforcement but also state fleets and municipalities, increasing demand for soybean grown in Minnesota.  

In additional to the county promotion, the Council will give away two sets of Goodyear’s popular Assurance Weather Ready tires – also made with 100% soybean oil – at this year’s Farmfest (Aug. 3-5) and Big Iron (Sept 13-15). A third set of the WeatherReady tires, which are tailor-made for everyday vehicles, will be available through an online promotion that will allow farmers to nominate their favorite nonprofits.  

“This is a wonderful program helping out sheriff’s departments throughout the state,” said Norman County Soybean and Corn Growers President Corey Hanson.

The Norman County Soybean and Corn Growers Association is affiliated with the Minnesota Soybean Research & Promotion Council, which oversees the investment of soybean checkoff dollars on behalf of the nearly 28,000 soybean farmers in Minnesota. The Council is governed by the rules of a federally mandated checkoff program that requires all soybean producers pay a fee on the soybeans they sell. This money is used to promote, educate and develop market opportunities for soybeans.

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