Otter Tail/Grant County farmers treading new ground with tire donation to sheriff’s department

Otter Tail and Grant 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 Otter Tail/Grant County Corn and Soybean Growers 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 supporting law enforcement agencies in their community. They donated a set of Eagle Enforcer All Weather tires to the Otter Tail County Sheriff, which were recently mounted on the Sheriff’s patrol vehicle by Otter Tail Tire. Otter Tail Tire in Fergus Falls donated the labor for installation of the tires.

Goodyear’s soy-based Eagle Enforcer All Weather tires are designed specifically for first responder vehicles traversing rugged climates like Minnesota’s.

“When the Otter Tail/Grant Corn and Soybean Growers first reached out about donating tires, I didn’t see the connection between soybeans and tires. Through our conversations, I learned more about the soy-based tires,” said Otter Tail County Sheriff Barry Fitzgibbons. “This is neat program and another way for us to support our local businesses and local farmers. We are very appreciative of the donation and support for law enforcement.”

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 via 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.

“This donation was a great way to bring attention to different uses of soybeans and soybean oil, grown right here in our own counties,” said Rick Swenson, a member of the Otter Tail/Grant County Corn and Soybean Growers board. “We are proud to support our local law enforcement and our community and thank them for their service.”

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 WeatherReady 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.  

The Otter Tail/Grant County Corn and Soybean Growers 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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