Radke Report: Where the Skechers rubber meets the road
It’s finally summer, and our farm family has been busy working the land and tending to the livestock.
With so much work to be done around here — cutting and baling hay, fixing and checking fences, hauling water, tending to the garden, working on our show calves, and running to kids ’activities, I am thankful for the extra daylight each day to get everything done, but I must admit, I’m still acclimating to this summer heat!
It’s been crazy hot here in our little corner of the South Dakota prairie, and as the temperatures rise, we have been diligently working to make sure our cattle and our kids are staying cool!
Thankfully, we have received some timely rains in recent weeks, and despite the scorching hot days, the crops are growing nicely, and the pastures are green and lush.
Driving around our neighborhood, it’s great to see the corn and soybeans growing, and the kids have enjoyed the parade of farm equipment moving up and down our gravel roads this past month.
As the crops pop up in neat rows, I got to thinking about the many ways these plants benefit our everyday lives. I recently sat down with the folks at the Minnesota Soybean Association to learn more about the many uses for soybeans, and I think if the general public knew of the thousands of products that come from soybeans, they would be absolutely floored by the information!
Did you know that there are more than 1,000 commercially available products – ranging from shoes to machinery lubricants to asphalt – that use commodity and high oleic soybean oil? We truly can’t go a day without farmers and ranchers impacting our lives and providing us with products we need! It’s so much more than food!
To help share this message, Minnesota soybean farmers, in partnership with the soybean checkoff, are showcasing the ways that soybeans benefit everyday consumers.
For example, in 2020, Skechers released its line of soy-based footwear, which uses soybean oil to improve grip, stability and durability. Interestingly enough, Skechers is using the same soybean checkoff-supported technology featured in Goodyear Tire Company’s line of soy-based tires, which incorporates soy into its rubber technology.
According to Minnesota Soybean, “The statewide effort strives to inform both farming and non-farming public on soy’s environmental advantages and the myriad uses of soybean oil. The Skechers Go shoes, along with other soy-based products reduce the use of petroleum, helping to improve our environmental footprint and add value to soybean farmers ’bottom lines.”
This summer, I have been wearing my new pair of Skechers Go shoes, and I must say, in addition to them being really cute and comfortable, it’s awesome to know that soybean farmers helped to make these sneakers possible!
Minnesota Soybean is donating 50 pairs of these soy-based Skechers shoes to local health care facilities in Minnesota, as part of its summer promotion. Folks can now nominate a deserving health care worker in their community who needs a “thank you” with a free pair of soy-based Skechers shoes.
“We know how much health care workers sacrifice for others in communities throughout Minnesota, especially in the past couple of years. I’ve seen it firsthand,” said Minnesota Soybean Council Chair Joe Serbus, whose wife, Doreen, has worked in health care for more than 40 years. “This campaign is an investment in both value-added soybean products and in the selfless health care professionals who keep us safe and healthy.”
The nomination form can be found at mnsoybean.org/nominateahero. Nominations will be taken through Aug. 4. You can also follow along with this campaign on social media by using the hashtag #SoySteppingUp
We often talk about the importance of sharing our story and being an authentic and transparent resource for folks who are wanting to learn more about where their food comes from. With this promotion, the rubber really meets the road — literally in the form of sneakers — to share that story.
May we all continue to seek ways to be innovative, creative and unique in our agricultural storytelling. And may we find that by doing so we are able to build relationships and trust with the people we aim to serve.
Amanda Radke is a fifth-generation rancher from Mitchell who has dedicated her career to serving as a voice for the nation’s beef producers. A 2009 graduate of South Dakota State University with a degree in agricultural communications, education and leadership, Radke is a blogger for BEEF Daily blog.