Most people would not consider playing football on a soybean field.
The Kansas State Wildcats will be doing just that, in a manner of speaking, when they take to Wagner Field in Bill Snyder Family Stadium this fall.
K-State recently installed AstroTurf® GameDay Grass™ 3D60H in its football stadium.
The new synthetic surface includes a soy-based backing that was developed with funding from the national soybean checkoff. K-State is the first Football Bowl Subdivision school to use the new backing, which replaces traditional petroleum-based polymers with bio-based ones derived from soybean oil.
“Soybean farmers are proud of K-State’s new surface with the soy-based backing,” said Bob Haselwood, a soybean farmer from Berryton who chairs both the Kansas Soybean Commission (KSC) and the new-uses program for the United Soybean Board (USB). “It is a high-profile illustration of our commitment to help develop new uses and new demand for U.S. soy through the checkoff we pay each time we sell beans.”
To celebrate the partnership among K-State, AstroTurf and the soybean checkoff, KSC and USB are co-sponsoring the Wildcats’ second home game of the season, when they will line up against Kent State.
The Sept. 17 event will include a tailgate promotion and pregame ball presentation.
The first 5,000 fans to visit the Kansas Soybean tent near the southwest corner of the stadium before or during the game can take home a sample of the innovative playing surface.
The new AstroTurf system provides several benefits for the Wildcat football program. Chief among them are player performance and safety. Durability is another important characteristic.
Through KSC and USB, the checkoff provides soybean farmers with an effective, efficient, self-directed program on both the state and national levels. First purchasers – typically grain elevators – assist KSC in collecting 0.5 percent of the net market value when farmers sell their soybeans. KSC sends half of its collections to USB for national and international projects and directs investments of the remaining checkoff funds at the state level.
The Kansas Soybean  Commission  (www.kansassoybeans.org), headquartered in Topeka, includes nine volunteer farmer-commissioners who oversee investments of the soybean checkoff on behalf of all Kansas soybean farmers. KSC invests checkoff funds in research, consumer information, market development, industry relations and producer communications to improve the profitability of Kansas soybean farmers.