Last Saturday, Lewis Bainbridge parked his combine to attend the dedication ceremony for the new Sanford Jackrabbit Athletic Complex on the campus of South Dakota State University.
The ’72 alumnus and Ethan corn and soybean farmer was eager to celebrate the opening of the nation’s largest collegiate indoor athletic complex for multiple reasons – he and his wife, Charlene and their three children are SDSU alumni, and his son, Neal, an ’06 General Agriculture graduate, played Jackrabbit football.
Topping his list, however, is the fact that the complex’s field is manufactured from a soy-based product.
“It’s neat to see that after many, many years of work and research, a soy-oil based product such as this comes into the marketplace and onto the field of our state’s Land Grant,” said Bainbridge, who serves on the United Soybean Board; a national, farmer-led board which directs the spending of soy check-off dollars.
Bainbridge, together with Barry Dunn, Dean of the College of Agriculture and Biological Sciences and Director of SDSU Extension, introduced the idea of using the soy-based synthetic turf for the field of the new athletic complex. “This product demonstrates that agriculture’s impact expands beyond food, fiber and fuel to new uses like synthetic turf,” Dunn said. “Soybeans are grown in our state by more than 13,000 farmers, many of whom have strong ties to SDSU and SDSU Extension. This product falls in line with the Land Grant mission of education, research and extension. Innovation that creates demand for our commodities will be critical for South Dakota agriculture in the future.”
The renewable product, 3D RootZone, incorporates BioCel® soy-based polyurethane, in the backing to which the grass-like turf is rooted. Manufactured by AstroTurf LLC, 3D RootZone produced by incorporating soy oil to manufacture a bio-based polyol, that replaces a significant portion of the petro-based polyol.
According to AstroTurf representatives, the turf’s quality and performance is not compromised when replacing petro-based polyurethanes with the environmentally sustainable soy-based polyurethanes.
The Sanford-Jackrabbit Athletic Complex is a competition and practice facility that includes one of the only 300-meter indoor tracks in the region. The facility also includes expanded strength and conditioning as well as sports medicine facilities.
Construction of the Sanford-Jackrabbit Athletic Complex began in the fall of 2013. The building is approximately 148,800 square feet, with the complex covering more than three acres.
A dedication ceremony for the new Sanford Jackrabbit Athletic Complex was held Saturday, Oct. 11, 2014; Bainbridge and other members of the South Dakota Soybean Research & Promotion Council were present to celebrate.