From childhood chores to running the operation himself, Ron Obermoller, a District 7 representative for Minnesota Soybean Research & Promotion Council (MSR&PC), has deep roots in agriculture. A fourth-generation corn and soybean farmer from Nobles County, Obermoller’s agricultural interests are broad, but his passion lies with helping to create a stable and profitable future for Minnesota soybean farmers.
“Developing new uses for soybeans is one way we focus on the profitability for soybean growers,” says Obermoller. “As technology advances, the opportunities for Minnesota soybeans keep growing.”
The primary use of soybeans is to feed livestock — mainly poultry and hogs. But apart from traditional feedstuffs, soybeans are used in ways that may not be obvious to the general consumer. One example of a unique soybean-based product supported by the checkoff is RePLAY® Agricultural Oil Seal and Preservation Agent. RePLAY is a soybean oil–based road sealant that helps rejuvenate and maintain Minnesota roads while reducing the cost of upkeep. RePLAY has already been applied on approximately 118,000 lane miles of Minnesota roads, using 100 bushels of soybeans per lane mile.
“I ran for the board to help create opportunities for fellow Minnesota farmers,” says Obermoller, who has also served for decades on his local Nobles County Corn and Soybean Growers board. “While we see success stories like RePLAY and biodiesel, we’re always on the lookout for what’s next. Being involved with the Council allows farmers to have a say in when and where the next innovation occurs.”
Checkoff dollars are also being used to study the nutritional amino acid profile of soybeans to help improve feed for industries like aquaculture. Obermoller notes that one Minnesota-based company is using the amino acid profile to perfect the feedstuffs for farm-raised shrimp. Tru Shrimp, based in southwest Minnesota, uses large amounts of soybean meal for the formulation of its shrimp feed. The company has worked closely with MSR&PC to develop research paths to better utilize the renewable feed sources that are abundant and available close to home.
“It is exciting to see checkoff dollars in action and making a difference, both close to home, and across the globe,” Obermoller says. “With new technology and research discovering more uses for Minnesota soybeans, farmers have peace of mind, knowing their soybeans will have a place to go after they leave the farm.”