field to field

Field-to-Field with DSU’s Athletic Director, Jeff Dittman

With harvest wrapping up and football season well underway, soy products can be found within both fields. As local farmers finish harvesting their soybeans, the soybean’s journey begins through a multitude of industries, states, and countries, filing into a biobased economy. A biobased economy is an idea of using living things and products from the land to drive the economy.

As the innovations for soy continue to grow within a biobased economy, you might start to notice areas of your everyday life that include soybeans. One being found within your Saturday college game day! South Dakota State University’s (SDSU) football program and now Dakota State University’s (DSU) football and soccer teams will house soy-backed turf in the near future. We spoke with Jeff Dittman, DSU Athletic Director, about the change and what it means to the school. Read his answers, below!

Q: What was the main reason DSU wanted to switch to synthetic, soy-backed turf?

A: We currently have a grass football field.  We wanted to switch to artificial turf for a variety of reasons. One is wear and tear. Our field is home to the DSU Trojans and the Madison Bulldog football teams.

Over the course of the fall, the grass field gets worn down significantly with the two teams playing on it. And, we only play games on the field, we do not practice on it. 

We wanted a field that would allow practices and games for those two programs as well as the Madison JV football team, local youth football teams and area high school teams.

In our research of the best fields, we were made aware of a company that uses soy-based turf by our local ag businesses. They referred to SDSU, who had already installed this turf and were very pleased with the quality and durability of the turf.


Q: Did you know the synthetic turf going in is a soy-backed turf? And if so, what does that mean to you that DSU facilities will be supporting local farmers?

A: We did know that the turf that was chosen was a soy-backed. Terry Schultz of Mustang Seeds sent me material that explained how soybeans were used in this product and that SDSU had this turf. We are very pleased to use a product that benefits our local ag producers!

They are great supporters of our University and our Athletic programs. Ag Bowl is our biggest athletic event each year. Additionally, many of our athletes come from farm families.

Q: When will this project be completed and when can the public expect to see the new field?

A: The soccer/track stadium will be ready for play in the Fall of 2023. The football stadium will be finished in the Fall of 2024 and we will play our DSU and Madison high school football games on this field.

As we begin to see more places use synthetic soy-backed turf in sporting facilities, home lawns, airports, playgrounds, golf courses, landscape designs, pet facilities, and many others, remember that the product started in a different type of field, with a local farmer and a lot of hard work! To find more information on soy-backed turf, read Soybeans Taking Over Unexpected Landscapes