Midwest briefs

Wisconsin State Farmer
Midwest Briefs


Two Ohio Soybean Council funded technologies named 2016 R&D 100 Awards finalists

Two technologies recently developed through Ohio Soybean Council (OSC) and soybean checkoff collaborations have achieved ‘finalist’ designations for the R&D 100 Awards, with winners to be announced in November.

Both technologies, Soy-PK Resin and Bio-YIELD bioreactor, leverage the natural properties of soybeans to increase the sustainability and improve health in modern industries.

Since the early 1990s, OSC has engaged in public and private collaborations that encourage rapid commercialization of new commercial and industrial uses of soybeans.

“It’s important that we continue to explore new ways to utilize our soybeans,” said Nathan Eckel, OSC Research Committee chair and soybean farmer from Wood County. “Seeing technologies that we’ve helped develop with some amazing partners receive this kind of recognition is fantastic.”


From the Farm to the Finish Line

The conversation about food and farming is about to move into the fast lane.

Through a partnership believed to be the first of its kind, several leading agriculture-related organizations and two high-profile NASCAR drivers are coming together to fuel conversations about food and how it’s produced.

BRANDT, WinField and the U.S. Farmers & Ranchers Alliance (USFRA) are joining with NASCAR drivers Dakoda Armstrong and Justin Allgaier for a multifaceted Let’s Talk Food event at the NASCAR Xfinity Series race at Chicagoland Speedway on Sept. 17. Let’s Talk Food is designed to spark conversations between farmers and consumers about how food is grown and raised, and address questions about the safety, sustainability and nutritional aspects of their food.

Armstrong and Allgaier, who both come from farming and rural community backgrounds, respectively, will be the primary faces of Let’s Talk Food with each driving matching Let’s Talk Food-branded cars. This will be the first time that identical, agriculture-related cars have been part of a NASCAR event, effectively doubling the visibility for Let’s Talk Food on race day. An estimated 50,000 people are expected to attend the race with another 2 million watching on TV and online.

Let’s Talk Food will reach audiences in a multitude of ways:

  • ONLINE:, which will go live Sept. 13, will serve as the information hub for the initiative, featuring information on food production and addressing topics ranging from soil sustainability to food safety to farming.
  • NEWS COVERAGE: Journalists will be invited to learn more via a coordinated outreach effort prior to and including race day.
  • SOCIAL: A social media campaign will promote the Let’s Talk Food message via multiple platforms from JR Motorsports, WinField Racing, drivers Dakoda Armstrong and Justin Allgaier, Pat Patterson – SiriusXM’s “The Racing Guy” – and Dale Earnhardt Jr.
  • EXPERIENTIAL: The Let’s Talk Food team will reach racegoers through a variety of activities at and near the Chicagoland Speedway, including a  competition featuring gravity racers built from vegetables and a challenge to lucky participants to make a sandwich in a pace car going more than 120 mph. Fans will also be able to meet with farmers and drivers Armstrong and Allgaier.

Let’s Talk Food is the latest in a sustained effort by ag leaders to engage consumers in dialogue about how and where their food is grown and raised. That effort has been spearheaded by the USFRA, a 6-year-old organization consisting of more than 90 farmer- and rancher-led organizations and agricultural partners. USFRA’s formation marked the first time agricultural groups at the national, regional and state levels came together to lead a conversation with Americans about how farmers raise food while also being stewards of the environment, responsibly caring for animals and maintaining strong businesses and communities.


GROWMARK announces 2017 essay contest theme

The theme for the 2017 GROWMARK Essay Contest is: “What value do cooperatives provide to today’s farmers?” The contest is open to all high school FFA members in Illinois, Iowa, Missouri, and Wisconsin.

This is the 24th year for the program, sponsored by the GROWMARK System and FS member cooperatives, in conjunction with state FFA leaders, to help young people develop their writing skills, learn about current issues affecting agriculture, and understand the unique role of cooperatives.

Students will explore ways in which cooperatives help farmers remain competitive, and describe the value cooperatives provide to modern farms.

Essays will be submitted online for the first time this year. The deadline for all submissions is midnight on October 31, 2016. Additional program details have been sent to agriculture teachers and are online at

Each state’s winner earns a $500 award and the winner’s FFA chapter receives a $300 award. Four runners-up per state each win $125 awards.

The program is offered annually and many agriculture teachers use it as part of their class curriculum. Past topics have included sustainability, careers in agriculture, and the cooperative principles.