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Soybeans help Michigan fairs go green in 2015

More than 1.8 million visitors at 32 Michigan fairs will have the opportunity to see "green" soy products in use at the fair this summer and fall. Go Green in 2015 marks the fifth year the Michigan Soybean Promotion Committee (MSPC) has been helping fairs use environmentally friendly soy products through its Green Fair Project.

The Green Fair Project is a grant program in which MSPC reimburses fairs 50% of the cost of using industrial soy products, granting up to $5,000 per fair. Soy-based fuel, printing ink, dust suppressant, cleaning products and building materials are among the soy products that fairs can choose.

According to MSPC staff member Kathy Maurer, soy ink will be used in printing programs and flyers. Along with soy building materials and carpet backing, soy-based paints will be used to spruce up buildings. A variety of soy cleaning products, as well as dust control products, will be used. Biodiesel will be used to power generators and transportation at the fairgrounds.

"What better way to go green than to use soy-based products?" Maurer asked. "Helping fairs go green is a win-win for everyone."

The soybean organization has named the following fairs as grant recipients for 2015. Fairs marked with an asterisk are receiving a green grant for the first time.

Alcona County Fair, Lincoln, August 18--22

Barry County Fair, Hastings, July 20--25

Bay County Fair and Youth Exposition, Bay City, August 4--8

Berlin Fair, Marne, June 8--13

Berrien County Youth Fair, Berrien Springs, August 17--22

Calhoun County Fair, Marshall, August 16--22

Chippewa County Fair, Kinross, August 30--September 7

Emmet-Charlevoix County Fair, Petoskey, August 22--30

Fifth Third Bank Michigan State Fair, Novi, September 4--7

Genesee County Fair, Mount Morris, August 24--30

Gogebic County Fair, Ironwood, August 13--16

Gratiot County Fair for Youth, Alma, July 25--August 1

Hillsdale County Fair, Hillsdale, September 27--October 3

Houghton County Fair, Hancock, August 27--30

Huron Community Fair, Bad Axe, July 26--August 1

Ingham County Fair, Mason, August 3--8

Kent County Youth Fair, Lowell, August 10--15

Lake Odessa Fair, Lake Odessa, June 24--28

Manchester Community Fair, Manchester, June 23--27

Midland County Fair, Midland, August 16--22

Montmorency County Fair, Atlanta, July 28--August 1

Newaygo County Fair, Fremont, August 1--8

Oakland County Fair Association, Davisburg, July 3--12

Ogemaw County Fair, West Branch, August 4--8

Saginaw County Fair, Chesaning, August 4--8

Saline Community Fair, Ann Arbor, September 2--6

Schoolcraft County Fair, Manistique, July 24--26

Shiawassee County Fair, Corunna, August 9--15

Upper Peninsula State Fair, Escanaba, August 17--23

Wayne County Fair, Belleville, August 3--8

Western Michigan Fair, Ludington, August 11--15

Year Round Agricultural Education Center, Milford, April--September

Renewable by nature, U.S. soy is used as an ingredient in a diverse group of biobased products including more than 800 industrial products, according to Herb Miller of Niles, one of three Michigan representatives to the United Soybean Board.

Through the national farmer-funded soybean checkoff program, Miller says soybean farmers have helped fund the development of many successful new uses for soybeans, including biodiesel, soy plastics and foams, soy methyl esters and soy ink.

Michigan farmers grow soybeans on nearly 2 million acres each year, producing 83 million bushels in 2013. The second largest crop in the state, soybeans add more than $1.5 billion to Michigan's economy annually.

"Soybeans are environmentally friendly," says Maurer. As soybeans grow, they remove greenhouse gases from the atmosphere. Soybean production increased more than 70% in the past 20 years. In the same period, soybean farmers used farming practices that are more sustainable by reducing fuel use, which reduces carbon emissions. Using soybean-derived feedstocks in manufacturing industrial products has environmental and energy benefits as well.

The Green Fair Project project is funded by Michigan soybean farmers through the soybean checkoff. For more information on soy-based products, visit

The Michigan Soybean Promotion Committee manages soybean checkoff funds to increase return on investment for Michigan soybean farmers while enhancing sustainable soybean production. A board of farmer-leaders directs MSPC on behalf of the more than 12,000 Michigan soybean farmers. For information, or call 989.652.3294.