The Illinois Soybean Association (ISA) and the soybean checkoff are partnering with celebrated NASCAR driver Kenny Wallace to show Chicagoland race fans how “Everyone Wins with Animal Agriculture.” On Sunday, July 22, at the Chicagoland Speedway NASCAR Nationwide Series race, Wallace will drive the No. 99 Family Farmers car. The race will air live at 1 p.m. on ESPN.
Throughout the July 21-22 weekend at the track, ISA is co-sponsoring a Family Farmers exhibit, where animal agriculture takes the lead – and where Wallace will appear. The exhibit also is funded in part by the Illinois Corn Marketing Board and the corn checkoff.
“Working with the family farmers in Illinois and around the country has been an honor,” says Wallace, who now has nearly 800 career NASCAR starts under his belt. “I’m passionate about sharing what I call ‘true knowledge’ about family farmers.”
True knowledge about today’s Illinois family farms and their economic impact may surprise most NASCAR fans. “Raising animals is a huge driver of the Illinois economy,” says Pat Dumoulin, a soybean and hog farmer from Hampshire, Ill., and ISA vice chair for animal agriculture.
“Illinois livestock farms, along with meat and dairy processing companies, account for $1 in every $20, or five percent of the state’s economy. This industry provides 99,000 jobs and $27 billion in economic impact,” Dumoulin adds. “Because of the nature of farming, many of those dollars and jobs stay in our local communities.
“As a soybean farmer, raising animals is important to me because about half of Illinois soybeans are fed to pigs, chickens, cows and cattle as soybean meal. Livestock farmers are my best customers, and economically, it’s better for everybody when we can keep customers close by,” Dumoulin says.
Race fans can learn more about how soybeans fuel animal agriculture and the Illinois economy at the Family Farmers exhibit. Illinois farmers will personally welcome fans, answer questions and share stories.
In addition, visitors to the exhibit can pose for a keepsake photo in a Winner’s Circle setting, with Wallace’s No. 99 car surrounded by soybeans, corn and farm animal graphics. Fans also can register for the chance to win a pig roast lunch with Wallace, as well as an Illinois farm tour.
The Illinois Soybean Association (ISA) is the statewide organization for Illinois soybean growers. The farmers on its board administer soybean checkoff funds to support research, promotions, and educational programs designed to increase demand for Illinois soybeans and administer legislation and membership programs. For more information, visit: www.ilsoy.org.