‘Saying thanks’: Pipestone County donates soy-based shoes to local medical centers

After the award-winning Stepping Up: From Farm to Frontline campaign completed its first lap, the Minnesota Soybean Research & Promotion Council (MSR&PC) was left with big shoes to fill. In 2023, the Council is taking the next steps to make a bigger impact on communities through the benefits of the “magic bean.”

This year, Stepping Up continues, but with a twist. The statewide campaign is dedicated toward giving back to any organization or entity in Minnesota where the local county boards see a need. Minnesota’s organized county soybean boards are donating to schools, homeless shelters, fire departments, students in need and organizations that make impacts in their communities.

Pipestone County, in partnership with MSR&PC, which directs the state’s soybean checkoff resources, continues the Stepping Up campaign to promote the value-added uses of soybeans and make community connections. This spring, the Pipestone County Corn & Soybean Growers Association donated to the Good Samaritan, Ridgeview Estates and the Pipestone County Medical Center again. Each location received 10 pairs of Skechers soy-based shoes.

Pipestone County soybean farmers are supporting local communities and promoting soybean checkoff investments by donating soy-based shoes to local medical facilities.

“Our county board prioritizes giving back to local organizations, especially health care workers,” Board Chair Ryan Weinkauf said. “This donation is our way of saying ‘thanks’ and recognizing the work they put in and how our community relies on them.”

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 continue making a difference. In turn, local organizations expressed appreciation for the donation.

“The staff at Ridge View Estates is very grateful for the generous donation of shoes and very much appreciate the gesture,” said Melissa McCorquodale, Ridge View Estates’ assisted living director. “Our staff put in a lot of walking and the shoes are a very much needed tool with their job duties. It is really a wonderful, heartfelt gesture to recognize some of the many caregivers in our community.”

In summer 2022, more than 53 counties throughout Minnesota participated in the first Stepping Up campaign. In 2022 alone, 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 delight the shoes bring the recipients.”


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 Pipestone County 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.

Learn more on Stepping Up by visiting mnsoybean.org/stepping-up.

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