ST. LOUIS -- Before taking the oath of office today, President Barack Obama retraced Abraham Lincoln's steps by making the journey from Illinois to Washington, D.C. In the spirit of Lincoln and powered by soybean checkoff-funded biodiesel, the "Abraham Lincoln: Self-Made in America Tour" mobile museum made this historical 800-mile journey as well.

The mobile museum has been touring the United States since spring 2008 to commemorate the 200th anniversary of Lincoln's birth in 2009 and will continue its voyage through 2010. The United Soybean Board and Illinois Soybean Association are investing checkoff funds to provide this traveling museum with made-in-America, clean-burning biodiesel to power its journey.

"This partnership has provided a good way to spread facts about soy biodiesel in urban areas," says Phil Bradshaw, a soybean farmer from Griggsville, Ill., and USB Vice Chairman.

As of last November, the mobile museum exhibit had over 100,000 visitors. The presidential inaugural committee invited it to be a part of "The Presidential Experience " exhibit near the Washington, D.C., convention center. The theme of the 2009 presidential inauguration is "A Birth of New Freedom." This phrase is taken from Lincoln's Gettysburg Address as the inauguration also commemorates the bicentennial of Lincoln's birth.

This mobile Lincoln museum gives people across the United States the opportunity to learn the story of Lincoln as well as view some items from the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum. A 3-D presentation of Lincoln's famous address to Springfield upon leaving for Washington, D.C., is a highlight of the mobile museum and sure to be especially meaningful and timely at the 2009 presidential inauguration.

The biodiesel-fueled unit will be displayed in our nation's capital during January, allowing visitors the opportunity to learn about our 16th president while witnessing the swearing-in of our 44th president. Museum staff will also be on hand to answer questions and educate visitors about American-made biodiesel, a clean-burning, renewable fuel produced in the United States.

The soybean checkoff helped create and grow the biodiesel industry in the United States. Soybean oil continues to be the major feedstock used to make biodiesel, and the soybean checkoff continues to fund most of the major biodiesel research and promotion conducted by the National Biodiesel Board. Biodiesel production in the United States grew again in 2008, according to NBB, to an estimated 650-700 million gallons.

USB is made up of 68 farmer-directors who oversee the investments of the soybean checkoff on behalf of all U.S. soybean farmers. Checkoff funds are invested in the areas of animal utilization, human utilization, industrial utilization, industry relations, market access and supply. As stipulated in the Soybean Promotion, Research and Consumer Information Act, USDA's Agricultural Marketing Service has oversight responsibilities for USB and the soybean checkoff.