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Health care heroes in our communities do more than their fair share to help keep us safe and healthy. This summer, Minnesota soybean farmers, with the help of the soybean checkoff, are Stepping Up and saluting these frontline workers throughout the state by donating sets of soy-based Sketchers shoes to local health care personnel.

The goal of the Stepping Up campaign is to give back to local health care facilities across the state, as well as promote the versatility and environmental benefits of soy.

As part of the Stepping Up campaign, Minnesota’s 44 county boards (no other state has an organized county soybean program) are eligible to donate up to 50 pairs of Skechers soy-based GO shoes to a local health care facility, including (but not limited to): local hospitals, clinics, nursing homes and assisted living facilities.

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.

Using soybean oil not only reduces the use of petrochemicals, but is readily available, renewable and uses soybeans grown right here in the U.S.

"Each year, the Minnesota Soybean Research & Promotion Council (MSR&PC), which is made up of elected soybean farmers from across the state, highlights checkoff-funded, soy-based products – everything from biodiesel to road sealants to tires – in unique ways,” MSR&PC CEO Tom Slunecka said. “These checkoff investments, which ultimately create new and innovative ways to use soybean oil, help us reduce our dependency on petroleum while increasing demand. Thanks to investments made by soybean farmers, more than 1,000 commercially available products use soybean oil.”

When soybeans are harvested and crushed, 80% of the soybean is made up of protein - or meal. Roughly 97% of U.S. soybean meal is used as a protein source when feeding livestock or poultry. The other 20% is oil. Soybean oil can be used for baking and frying foods, making biodiesel, or other industrial uses like tires, paints, shoes, makeup and more.

Nominate your health care hero

As a bonus feature to the campaign, the general public will have a chance to follow in our footsteps by also giving thanks to frontline workers. 


From June 1 through Aug. 4, the Council is encouraging farmers and consumers to nominate a health care hero in their community through a nomination form. From those nominations, 20 health care personnel will be selected, and the winning nominees will receive a free pair of Skechers soy-based shoes, courtesy of Minnesota soybean farmers and the soybean checkoff.

“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 Bird Island soybean farmer 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.”

Follow the Stepping Up campaign at #SoySteppingUp or by following our social media channels.

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About the Minnesota Soybean Research & Promotion Council

The Minnesota Soybean Research & Promotion Council is a 15-person, farmer-led board that oversees the investment of 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 requiring all soybean producers to 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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