Soybean oil is slippery stuff. Far more lubricious than petroleum oil or so says Cathy Horton, the official Ag Day entrepreneur for Director Jim Zehringer’s first official Ag Day, which was held Mar. 7 -- just a few days before the state legislature passed H.B. 89 making the following week Mar. 13-19 the state’s official Agriculture Week. Coincidentally perhaps, Gov. Kasich was giving his state of the state address May 8. Somewhere in that speech he mentioned agriculture leading the state out of the economic mire with high tech products. “This is not your father’s agriculture,” he told the group. And he said “entrepreneur” three times. I’m thinkin’ it may have been convenient for the director to celebrate Ag Day a little early. But you can never have too many Ag Days as far as I’m concerned.
Cathy Horton is well recognized by Ohio soybean groups for her work developing a soy-based lubricant to challenge WD-40 and doing it very well. Her line of 15 retail products and 45 industrial items includes both lubricants and cleaners. They are presented in recyclable aluminum containers that look like they should hold hair spray. They are sleek and professional. Most important, she says, “They are green.” Her company NuTek Green has found a real niche.
“Simply Soy” is the WD40 replacer. “Can you believe that no one had copyrighted Simply Soy?” Cathy says in disbelief. “Why didn’t Proctor and Gamble own ‘Gum Off?’ They got lazy. They needed to be challenged.”
Right in the middle of the Simply Soy can it proudly proclaims “Made from U.S. Agricultural products. Contains no petroleum. Made from soybeans.”
Cathy Horton, left, describes her product line to Lt. Gov. Mary Taylor and Jim Zehringer, ODA director, during AG Day kick off at Hoover Inc in Glen Willow.
The product line is so successful that Hover Inc. – the vacuum makers -- bought the company last June keeping Cathy as the director of chemical solutions. “I’ve been writing all the checks to develop these products,” she says. “
Hoover has more resources for that.”
So she has gone from mergers and acquisitions lawyer to soybean spray entrepreneur and executive in about 5 years. She attributes her success to her athletic pursuit of swimming as a teenager and college student. “Swimming 5 hours a day teaches determination,” she says.
As far as being the focal point of Ag Day, she is as good a spokesman for agriculture as they come. She makes it a point of telling the gathering that the beans she buys from Mercer Landmark are “grown with safe growing practices.” The farmers use no-till. They are not grown in areas along the streams. They have shown there is no phosphorous running into the water from the fields growing these beans. Most important users of the products are not exposing themselves to the “toxic chemicals” that come from petroleum.
But the big secret is that soy oil is so much more lubricious than petroleum, she says. It is 4 to 7 times as lubricious and it really performs well under heat.”
So I decided to test it out and I took a can of Bolt Off with me to check it out. First of all, I am not used to opening hair spray cans. So I had a little trouble figuring out how to break the cap off the top of the can so I could get to the spray button. In fact in the process of snapping it off (very tentatively because I sort of thought I was breaking the spray mechanism itself – like I said I do not use much hair spray), I also snapped off the spray button. But I put it back on and then I gave a rusted and crusted ratchet a couple of shots. I worked the ratchet around with a towel and pretty soon it was spinning like new. Furthermore as I turned the towel the grease wad that had built up for years at the base of ratchet head started to rub off. I tried it on a pair of tin snips. Clean and slippery. I tried it on my chain saw. Caked-on gunk slipped right off.
So I’m sold on the stuff. If I can teach myself to pop that cover cap off a little smoother I figure I will be perfect for an infomercial about it. I’ll just move down my work bench spraying a lubing one item after another.
Zehringer also used the moment as an opportunity to unveil the new video declaring Ohio open for agribusiness. Check it out at http://www.agri.ohio.gov/videos/kasich-zehringer.htm or http://www.youtube.com/user/OhioDeptofAg, features Governor Kasich and Director Zehringer discussing the state’s pledge to foster agribusiness growth in Ohio. Now that we have Ag Day taken care of I can’t wait to see what the department cooks up for Ag Week.