Brown County Corn and Soybean Growers donate biodiesel sending Sleepy Eye FFA members to National Convention.

Some future leaders from Sleepy Eye took part in one of the nation’s largest youth events with a little help from Brown County farmers.

Over 56,000 students, teachers and guests attended the National FFA Convention in Indianapolis, October 24-27. It is the nation’s largest youth organization convention and brings together FFA members from across the country participating in general sessions, competitive events, educational tours, leadership workshops, a career show and volunteer activities.

Sleepy Eye FFA advisor and teacher, Mary Hoffmann attended this year’s convention bringing with her 14 students – ranging from high schoolers to college freshman. “The kids were busy at convention this year,” said Hoffmann, “Chapter President and Region VI President, Brandon Roiger attended as a national delegate and chapter member Chris Seifert was a national finalist for his dairy entrepreneurship proficiency. Sleepy Eye was also recognized as a 3 Star National Chapter.”

With many of its members being past FFA members and supporters of agricultural education, the Brown County Corn and Soybean Growers Association supported this year’s convention trip by donating biodiesel to fuel the group’s nearly 680 mile trek across the Midwest.

“We’re big supporters of the FFA. As students are becoming more removed from the farm, ag education is vital for our children. With core principles of leadership and personal growth, it’s a no brainer to support an organization that develops our future customers, employees and industry leaders,” said Chair Richard Trebesch.

Biodiesel uses only soybean oil, leaving the protein portion to be used as food or animal feed. “There are many benefits to using biodiesel,” said Trebesch, “It reduces greenhouse gases and other emissions by as much as 85 percent compared to petroleum diesel.” Trebesch explained by donating fuel to the FFA they not only support their community, but also promote their product.

“It’s a win-win. The FFA is about teaching kids about agriculture technologies and the use of advanced biofuels. Biodiesel has the potential to be a $1 billion industry in this state alone. The Minnesota biodiesel industry employs more than 5,000 people. Who knows how many of these students will be affected by it,” said Trebesch.

Sleepy Eye junior, Madlyn McMullen attended this year’s convention. “I really appreciate the support of the Soybean Growers. I’m not from a farm, but since I joined FFA I have learned so much about agriculture and the importance it has in our daily lives. I also have learned how to be a leader and an outgoing person,” she said, “I had a great time at the convention. It’s an experience I’ll never forget.”

The Brown County Corn and Soybean Growers Association are affiliated with the Minnesota Soybean Research & Promotion Council (MSR & PC), a non-profit organization controlled by a board of elected soybean producers from across the state who direct the investments of the state’s soybean checkoff dollars into programs designed to increase the profitability of Minnesota’s soybean farmers.

Brown County farmers know the value of agriculture. They live it each and every day, and they want to share the story of agriculture with everyone—on and off the farm. That is why they have joined a group of Minnesota farmers in the REAL Story campaign hosted by the MSR & PC. The REAL Story which stands for Responsible, Ethical, Agriculture for Life and features farmers across the state telling their own stories through the REAL story website and social media.

Read R.E.A.L. farm stories straight from Minnesota farmers by visiting