Spreading soy to soldiers

This article will appear in the upcoming November-December 2019 issue of Soybean Business.

U.S. soldiers serving overseas frequently find themselves working in all types of extreme weather conditions. Spending so much time outdoors in dry, windy climates often wreaks havoc on their face and lips. In March, the Todd County Corn and Soybean Growers felt they could offer some assistance by using checkoff funds to donate soy-based lip balm to soldiers in Kuwait.

Todd County Corn and Soybean Growers Treasurer Elisha Graves knew that her high school classmate, Amy Barnum, was serving in Kuwait. She heard that the soldiers were in need of some lip balm, and decided to take action.

“We knew we had exactly what they needed,” Graves says. “Our organization thought donating this lip balm was a great way to help U.S. soldiers while also promoting a soy product and the farmers that grow the soybeans.”

The donated lip balm includes soybean oil as an ingredient. Manufacturers of industrial and consumer products use soybean oil in a wide variety of products to increase product performance and replace petroleum and other volatile or hazardous ingredients. Lip balm is widely used to seal moisture in lips and protect them from external exposure. Dry air, cold temperatures, and wind all have a drying effect on the skin.

Barnum, a Master Sergeant in the 34th Infantry Division of the Minnesota National Guard, was one of the soldiers that received the package during her deployment. She says she was surprised but touched to receive a package from a local agriculture organization.

“It’s not too often that we receive packages from farmers,” Barnum says. “It was so heartwarming to receive a package from the Todd County Corn and Soybean Growers. Although it’s small, the lip balm truly helped in a big way.”

Barnum returned home to Brainerd in July after her nine-month deployment. She said the lip balm worked so well for treating dry lips that she took some back home and has shared it with friends.

Graves and the rest of the Corn and Soybean Growers board have received positive feedback from recipients of their donation and hope to do a similar donation to U.S. soldiers again.

“Our donation to soldiers in Kuwait was just one way our local organizations can make an impact,” Graves says. “Something so simple can really make a difference. I’m proud of our organization for supporting soldiers serving our country.”

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