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Fueling the Tigers

By Samantha Turner
To expand the visibility of biodiesel in Missouri, the Missouri Soybean Merchandising Council is partnering with Mizzou Athletics.

MIZ – SOY! In a collaborative partnership with the University of Missouri Athletics, the Missouri Soybean Merchandising Council (MSMC) teamed up with the Mizzou Tigers to fuel this football season with Missouri-made biodiesel.

MSMC is proud to partner with the University of Missouri Athletics to “Fuel a Cleaner Future with Biodiesel” by wrapping the Tigers’ bus and power the team with soy-based biodiesel.

“This collaboration is beneficial because it is a way we can connect to the agriculture industry of Missouri,” said Greg Hulen, University of Missouri chief revenue officer. “The agriculture industry is a huge part of the mission of the University of Missouri as well as the economic impacts it has on the state.”

This investment is the perfect opportunity to go back to where biodiesel was discovered – at the University of Missouri. In 1991, MSMC invested $22,000 in a research project led by Leon Schumacher at the University of Missouri-Columbia to test and demonstrate soybean oil as a diesel fuel replacement in a new Dodge pickup coined “Old Brownie”.

That novel idea, generated by farmer-leaders around a board room table is now a 3-billion-gallon industry.

“Fueling the tigers with biodiesel amplifies a longstanding 30-plus year partnership between farmers and the state’s land grant university that we continue to promote and help develop,” said Gary Wheeler, CEO and Executive Director of MO Soybeans. “It is the most fitting showcase of soy-based, renewable fuel, being back at the very entity that helped the soybean farmers’ idea come to fruition.”

Missouri is one of the leading biodiesel producers in the nation. Biodiesel is a renewable, energy-efficient, clean-burning fuel made from Missouri’s top agricultural commodity — soybeans.

“There are nearly 300 retail locations across Missouri offering biodiesel blends, and biodiesel capacity has reached more than 240 million gallons of production,” said Aaron Porter, MSMC chair. “With demand continuing to grow, we will be able to get biodiesel into more tanks.”

Currently, there is a major drive to increase biodiesel accessibility in much of the Midwest, and this initiative is aiding in fueling that traffic to the pumps.

“The importance of biodiesel is being pronounced,” said Porter. “With college football, there is a lot of consumer attention, and we are capitalizing on this opportunity to promote biodiesel. It’s rewarding to see something I grow and use on my farm garner such attention.”

With the passing of HB3, Missouri brings promise of more biodiesel usage. The tax credits for biodiesel producers and fuel retailers will increase demand for Missouri-made fuel and drive down the cost of biodiesel blends to consumers, adding to Missouri soybean growers’ bottom line.

“The Missouri legislature ensured that biodiesel remains a vital piece of the state’s economic impact,” said Wheeler. “The new law will help drive biodiesel demand, add value to Missouri-grown soybeans and provide citizens with a domestically made fuel that helps lower fuel prices for all.”

Biodiesel is fueling the competitive spirit and pride of so many fans across the Show-Me State, and Missouri Soybeans is fueling Missourians, making sure trucks get to where they need to go.

“Fans love the bus,” said Hulen. “It’s been a key part of our Tiger Walk tradition as the bus leads the team to Faurot and creates connections with fans before home games. Plus, the bus is taken on the road and utilized by other teams. It promotes Missouri Soybeans, but also Mizzou across the state and country.”

With more than a running banner on wheels traveling across the Midwest, the partnership includes in-stadium banner ads, tabling opportunities at the front entrance of Faurot Field, exclusive giveaways and social media engagements sure to reach thousands of fans.

“The team feels honored knowing that Missouri soybean farmers support their efforts, and to be honest, they really like the design of the bus,” said Hulen. “Biodiesel is great way to utilize the resources we have in this state effectively. The athletic department and University always want to do what is best for the state, and when we can combine taking care of our environment at the same time, it’s a win-win.”

According to Learfield, nearly 70% of college sports fans are proud to utilize the products and services of sponsors and feel better about the brands that sponsor an athletic program. Additionally, more than 80% of Tiger fans are more likely to be willing to pay more for sustainable energy and think that green energy is the future.

Biodiesel has numerous high-performance benefits for fleets and general consumers. It is also a low-carbon fuel, reducing carbon emissions and increasing sustainability for all. Today, many companies are working to build a more sustainable future by making commitments to lower GHG emissions, and biodiesel is the solution. Biodiesel produces 86% fewer lifecycle greenhouse gases, creates 47% less particulate matter and reduces hydrocarbon emissions by 67%.

Consumers and football fans can help bring awareness by touting these benefits and make a difference at the local level by asking municipal or county officials to switch to biodiesel.

With the help of University Athletics, Missouri Soybeans can reach these fans 365 days a year, whether they are in-venue, scrolling social media or browsing the web. The partnership promises more than one million impressions to promote biodiesel through strategic communication tactics including co-branded ad placements, linkable logos and product placement on applicable sites including ticket purchases and merchandise buys.

The wrapped bus also made an appearance at the University’s historic homecoming festivities and even rolled through the annual parade, capturing the attention of 50,000 attendees. And as of November, the bus traveled 5,000 miles on Missouri-grown fuel.

“As farmers are harvesting the very product that goes into that bus, it’s nice for them to see this moving billboard travel past their farms across the Midwest,” said Wheeler.

Biodiesel is here and ready to use now by farmers, football players and fans from state line to state line. As the No. 1 cash crop in Missouri, soybeans prove to be an integral piece to the Show-Me State, much like the staple that is Mizzou football.

This football season as you chant MIZ-ZOU across Faurot, keep an eye out for the Missouri soybean farmers who powered this season to “Fuel a Cleaner with Biodiesel.”

Say it with us, MIZ-SOY!

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