McLeod County farmers tread new ground with soy-based tire donation

McLeod 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 McLeod County Soybean and Corn Board will join the Minnesota Soybean Research & Promotion Council (MSR&PC) and its 44 organized counties by turning the key on the “Driving Soy” campaign. The statewide promotion is utilizing Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company’s line of soy-oil tires, putting the soybean checkoff in the driver’s seat while also supporting law enforcement agencies in their communities.  

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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.  

“We were honored to be able to donate a set of tires to the sheriff’s department,” McLeod County Corn and Soybean Growers Association’s treasurer Chad Hoese said. “It was a way to show our sheriff’s department how much we appreciate what they do for our county.”

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

In additional to the county promotion, the Council will give away two sets of Goodyear’s popular Assurance WeatherReady tires 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.  

“We are always looking for innovative ways to utilize the crops we grow,” Hoese said. “I would highly recommend trying a set of the soy-based tires out.”

The McLeod County Corn and Soybean 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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