New Partnership Takes Biofuels from Farm Field to Football Field
INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (August 21, 2009) — It's no secret that Indiana's biofuels industry has been a driving force in Indiana's economy for the last five years. As suppliers to the ethanol and biodiesel industries, Hoosier corn and soybean farmers are teaming up with another driving force - the Indianapolis Colts – to promote biofuels across the state.
In a new partnership called Hoosier Horsepower, the state's most widely recognized sports franchise will team up with Indiana's corn and soybean farmers through their respective checkoff organizations to educate Indiana consumers about the many benefits of using biofuels.
"The Colts' partnership with Indiana's soybean and corn farmers is extremely exciting and important," said Tom Zupancic, Colts senior vice president of sales and marketing. "It's exciting because the program allows us to connect with fans of all ages throughout the state. It's important because farming is the backbone of our state's economy."
Dallas Clark, one of the National Football League's premier tight ends, will serve as the official spokesperson of the Hoosier Horsepower program. Having grown up in rural Iowa, Clark knows first-hand the importance of agriculture to a state's economy.
"I have always been around farming since I grew up in Iowa and have played for the Colts here in Indiana," said Clark. "I think the Hoosier Horsepower program is a great way to talk to students and adults about the technological advances in farming and the benefits of biofuels."
"We are very excited to have the opportunity to partner with one of the nation's top sports franchises, the Indianapolis Colts, and a great player in Dallas Clark," said Doug Morrow, president of the Indiana Soybean Alliance. "This extraordinary joint venture will help fuel our biofuels education curriculum and continue, in an innovative way, to educate consumers about the many benefits of using biofuels made from crops produced right here in Indiana."
The Hoosier Horsepower program centers around an educational component that is a multidimensional effort designed to connect with and educate students of all ages. The program will work with both the Indiana State Department of Education, as well as the Indiana FFA organization, to engage, excite and educate both students and their teachers.
"Specifically, we want to educate our fans and students about the benefits of biofuels," Zupancic said. "We're perfect partners because we both know that hard work, skill and innovation are essential once you take the field."
For example, high school students will have the opportunity to participate in a biofuels video contest where the students submitting the top entries win scholarships. As part of the program, for each catch Clark makes during the season the Colts will donate $100 on behalf of Indiana corn and soybean farmers to the scholarship fund.
Middle school students, on the other hand, will be targeted with a newly created biofuels education curriculum package and have the chance to earn prizes from the Colts. And elementary students will have the chance to meet the Colts' mascot, Blue, by entering a coloring contest featuring soy crayons or creating their own biofuels and Colts themed posters.
"Our Hoosier Horsepower program and partnership with the Colts will be pivotal in starting a conversation with consumers about the benefits of Indiana-made ethanol and biodiesel," said Mike Shuter, president of the Indiana Corn Marketing Council. "And one of the most important parts of that effort is in reaching and educating Indiana students, from kindergarten through high school, about biofuels and their role in our world today."
The program will also recognize teachers for their outstanding work in the classroom by granting Hoosier Horsepower Teacher Awards. More details about the educational components of the program will be available to teachers and students on September 1, 2009 at www.colts.com/HoosierHorsepower
All of these efforts are designed to help share with Indiana consumers the benefits of biofuels and the pride of Hoosier farmers in helping to fuel Indiana's economy. In total, Indiana's ethanol and biodiesel plants have invested more than $2.3 billion in capital expenses, added millions of dollars in new farm income - and they have the potential to use 423 million bushels of corn and 70 million bushels of soybeans annually.
"Educational efforts like this one promoting Indiana's biofuels industry are paid for and supported by our Indiana corn and soybean checkoff funds," added Morrow. "However, it is important to note that absolutely none of our farmers' checkoff funds have been or will be used for Indianapolis Colts tickets or suites. This is purely a program to raise awareness about biofuels to consumers across the state."
"In the end, we want Hoosiers to know that Indiana corn and soybean farmers are suppliers to a biofuels industry that is helping our country's bid for energy independence; producing fuels that are good for our environment and supporting our state's economy," said Shuter. "And we are doing this while producing enough corn and soybeans to meet all the demands for feed, food, fiber and fuel."
Visit www.colts.com/HoosierHorsepower to learn more about the Hoosier Horsepower program. Visit www.indianabiofuels.com to learn more about ethanol and biodiesel.
*The Indiana Corn Marketing Council was established by the Indiana General Assembly to promote the interest of corn growers in the state and manage corn checkoff funds. The Council is composed of 17 voting producer directors and 10 appointed farmer, industry, and government representatives.
The Indiana Soybean Alliance works to enhance the viability of Indiana soybean farmers through the effective and efficient investment of soybean checkoff funds and the development of sound policies that protect and promote the interest of Indiana soybean farmers. The ISA is working to build new markets for soybeans through the promotion of biodiesel, livestock, international marketing, new soybean uses, and research. ISA is led by an elected farmer board that directs investments of the soybean checkoff funds on behalf of more than 28,000 Indiana soybean farmers and promotes policies on behalf of the ISA's 850 dues-paying members.*