Soybean Checkoff powers Lincoln exhibit

Like the great American president Abraham Lincoln, the fuel of his traveling bicentennial exhibition will be “Made in America.” Checkoff funding from the United Soybean Board and the Illinois Soybean Association will provide biodiesel to power the tractor trailer that houses a new traveling exhibit highlighting an important Lincoln milestone.

The mobile museum is touring the United States to commemorate the 200th anniversary of Lincoln’s birth, giving people across the nation an opportunity to experience the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum, stationed in Springfield, Ill.

The subject of the exhibit, “Abraham Lincoln: Self-Made in America,” highlights Lincoln’s humble beginnings and rise to a historic presidency.

Lincoln’s father was a farmer and Lincoln grew up helping tend the family farm. He carried these experiences with him to Washington, D.C., when he created the United States Department of Agriculture along with enacting The Homestead Act, to encourage cultivation of land, and The Morrill Land Grant College Act, which donated public land to develop colleges of mechanical arts and agriculture.

Reinforcing the theme of “Made in America” as well as Lincoln’s forward thinking, the mobile exhibit will fuel up with biodiesel, a clean-burning, renewable energy source produced in the United States. Taking lessons from Lincoln’s self-improvement philosophy, the soybean checkoff focuses on increasing use and availability of biodiesel, a renewable fuel made in America.

“Biodiesel logos will be placed on both tractor fuel tanks to show visitors and travelers that biodiesel is a viable, clean, affordable source of U.S.-made energy that is good for the environment and good for rural America,” said Ike Boudreaux USB Chairman and soybean farmer from Lebeau, La. “This partnership will also provide a good way to spread facts about soy biodiesel in urban areas.”

“Powered by clean-burning biodiesel” will be placed on the back bumper to let visitors and travelers know biodiesel’s important role in fueling the exhibit. Most U.S. biodiesel originates from processed soybean oil leaving protein-rich soybean meal, which is mainly used in animal feed.

“Because Illinois is a top-producing soybean state and the top state for consumption of biodiesel, this promotion is a natural fit for the Illinois Soybean Association,” said David Hartke, ISA chairman and soybean farmer from Teutopolis. “Illinois soybean growers have a special respect for Abraham Lincoln, and we are proud to have biodiesel displayed on the unit, which displays such an important part of U.S. and Illinois history.”

The traveling museum is free to the public. Some of the memorabilia visitors will be able to view include Lincoln’s stovepipe hat and Mary Lincoln’s music box. The mobile museum also offers interactive displays such as the award-winning video presentation “The Civil War in Four Minutes” and a holographic presentation of Lincoln’s address in Springfield upon his leaving for the White House.

In addition to discovering the story of our 16th president, visitors to the museum and local media will be able to learn about biodiesel from drivers and staff, who will be informed about this national resource.

“We are very proud to fuel the Abraham Lincoln Self-Made in America Bicentennial Tour with this made in America fuel,” says Rick Beard, executive director of the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum.

The partnership began when the exhibit and the Illinois State Fair opened Aug. 8 in Springfield. The biodiesel-fueled, 53-foot tractor trailer began its tour last spring and will travel to 2008 national political conventions, bicentennial celebrations, major sporting events, elementary and secondary schools, colleges, and other venues through August 2010.

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