Nobles County farmers treading new ground with tire donation to sheriff’s department

Nobles 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 Nobles County Soybean and Corn Board will join the Minnesota Soybean Research & Promotion Council (MSR&PC) and its 44 organized counties by turning the key on the "Driving Soy" campaign. The statewide promotion is utilizing Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company’s line of soy-oil tires, putting the soybean checkoff in the driver’s seat while also supporting law enforcement agencies in their communities.

Each organized county (Minnesota is the only state to support county-level soybean programs) will have the opportunity to donate a full set of Goodyear’s soy-based Eagle Enforcer All Weather tires -- designed specifically for first responder vehicles traversing rugged climates like Minnesota’s -- to their county sheriff’s department.

“We are excited to participate in the Driving Soy campaign this summer,” said Matt Widboom, Nobles County chair. “Donating the soy-based tires to the Nobles County Sheriff’s Department is a way to both thank the department for their hard work, especially through COVID-19 and to educate the community about a new soybean use.”

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 through 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, said MSR&PC Director and former chair Cole Trebesch.

“There’s a high level of enthusiasm with our county boards for this campaign,” Trebesch said. “We all know summertime is fleeting in Minnesota, and after the hardships of the past year, our county boards are champing at the bit to promote our commodities and checkoff investments.”

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 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 promotionthat will allow farmers to nominate their favorite nonprofits.

“We hope that people will be more aware of the innovative uses of soybeans like the soy-based tires,” said Dustin Neugebauer, Nobles County treasurer. “It’s been exciting to promote a product that I grow and to show that it has endless possibilities.”

The Nobles County Corn and Soybean Growers Association 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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