Seasoned with knowledge: Minnesota farmer shares important message at Minnesota in May Barbeque Competition 

The saucy aroma of meat sizzling on smokers at the Minnesota Barbeque Society’s Minnesota in May competition May 10-11 in St. Peter was a temporary treat. But it was what the more than 100 teams could take with them after they left the Nicollet County Fairgrounds that proved most appetizing for the mind.  

“It helps if people know where the food comes from and how it all goes together. Soy is used in just about everything you touch in the world right now, from tennis shoes to cattle feed to glue and everything else,” said John Scharffbillig, who represents Kansas City Barbeque Society (KCBS) and Minnesota Barbeque Society (MBS). “It’s a good opportunity for people to meet the farmers and the society and learn how that all intertwines together.” 

Bringing the farm to the flame, the KCBS event partnered with United Soybean Board (USB) to serve up an important educational message. It was one Gene Stoel, Murray County farmer, USB director and Minnesota Soybean Research & Promotion Council director loved to spread.  

“We really talked about why it’s important for teams to consider soy is in everything,” said Stoel, who served as a certified judge at the event. “97% of all U.S. soybean meal we grow is used in animal feed. This provides vital nutrition for the chicken, pigs and other livestock that you cook. That was our number one message to them.” 

Stoel presented the top three pitmasters with the U.S. Soy Combine Award, totaling $1,500 in prize money. Craig Grefe, chair of the Minnesota in May organizing committee, says the award will serve as a permanent reminder as “ribbers”continue to enjoy their passion for years to come. 

“I think it’s a great idea to incorporate this important message of soybeans to remind people where the food they’re eating is coming from and where the food that that food eats is coming from,”Grefe said. “It’s a circle of life kind of thing. I think many people feel everything is fed on grass and corn; they don’t even think of some of the other foods, so it’s really good to make people aware of it.” 

For Stoel, it was a special experience to season not only the adults, but also the 15 youth competitors with a sweet soybean tidbit.  

“I think it surprised a lot of them,” Stoel said. “They said, ‘Well, why are you here? ’And as soon as we explained it, they got it. It was so good to be able to talk to people. It’s a fun event too. I haven’t had as much fun as this at any other event I’ve been at. One of the first things I heard was the appreciation they have for us being here as a sponsor. It really gives us a chance to talk about and train the next generation about the importance of soy.” 

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