During Nurses Month 2023, the Minnesota Soybean Research & Promotion Council continues to pay homage to health care heroes throughout the state.
The Council’s Stepping Up campaign is also running another lap in 2023 by giving back to not just health care personnel, but any qualifying organization or entity in the state. Minnesota’s organized county soybean boards are eligible to donate to schools, homeless shelters, fire departments, students in need and organizations that impact their communities.
The continuation of the Stepping Up campaign aims to inform more consumers on the value that soybeans bring to the market, as well as how versatile the crop is. Minnesota farmers also want to honor groups in their communities that are making a difference.
In 2022, more than 53 counties around Minnesota participated in the first Stepping Up campaign. Minnesota farmers and the soybean checkoff donated nearly 3,000 pairs of Skechers soy-based shoes across 120 Minnesota health care facilities.
“The Council felt the drive to provide more funds to continue Stepping Up after seeing the impact on the recipients,” MSR&PC Chair Joe Serbus said. “Health care workers were thankful and appreciative of the gesture last summer, so we chose to continue to spread our message on soybean versatility and the joy the shoes bring to the recipients.”
County organizations continue to honor health care personnel in their communities. In spring 2023, Polk County soybean farmers donated 15 pair to Fosston Essentia Health.
“It means a lot to be recognized for the hard work and sacrifice health care workers have made over the past few years,” Director of Nursing Stephanie McKnight said. “It is fascinating to think that these shoes could have come from soybeans grown on a local farm.”
In May, the Pennington-Red Lake County Corn and Soybean Growers Association donated 60 pairs to Pennington & Red Lake County Public Health & Home Care. Fourteen pairs of shoes were donated to the staff, and the remaining 46 pairs of shoes were donated to those in need.
“We are grateful to be able to donate shoes to hard-working people and children in need in our community. It is remarkable what soybeans can be made into,” Board Director Lauren Proulx said.
In 2020, Skechers released its GO line of footwear, which uses soybean oil to improve grip, stability and durability. Skechers is using the same checkoff-supported technology featured in Goodyear Tire Company’s line of sustainable soy-based tires, which incorporated soy into its rubber technology. By using soybean oil in Skechers’ GO line, Goodyear’s tire compound reduces petroleum-based use, ultimately cutting energy consumption, weight and promoting sustainability while increasing efficiency.
For each dollar soybean farmers pay toward checkoff resources, growers receive an estimated $12.34 in return value. More than 1,000 commercially available products – ranging from shoes to machinery lubricants to asphalt – use commodity and high oleic soybean oil.
“U.S. soybean growers are pleased to see this multiplier effect growing from their own collaboration with Goodyear through the soybean checkoff,” United Soybean Board Director Ralph Lott said. “We are excited consumers have a new choice for performance as well as sustainability with U.S. soy in a range of Skechers footwear.”
Learn more about Stepping Up by visiting mnsoybean.org/stepping-up.
“We’re excited to keep moving local organizations and the checkoff forward.” Council CEO Tom Slunecka said. “Successful campaigns like these happen thanks to the dedication of our county organizations and the leadership of our state board.”