soybean news wisconsin united soybean board soy-based products Tracy Hutson

Mellenthin’s ‘Home Makeover’

Categories: WSMB, WSPPublished On: February 21, 20242.7 min read

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Typically, when a Wisconsin soybean grower brings soybeans into the house, various cleaning products are brought out to erase the evidence. But not at the Mellenthin farm in Eau Galle. 

In collaboration with the United Soybean Board (USB), Wise Action Studios – founded by Tracy Hutson, host of Extreme Home Makeover: Home Edition, and Dan Solomon – worked with USB Director Tony Mellenthin and his wife, Katie, to renovate three rooms in their home using sustainable soy products.  

“Through serving on the USB board, I had the opportunity to connect and collaborate with Wise Action Studios,” Mellenthin said. “When Tracy Hutson found out we were expecting our third child, she graciously offered to design the nursery using soy products.” 

After Mellenthin’s initial conversation with Hutson, he didn’t even bother mentioning the idea to Katie.  

“When she first mentioned it, being the Midwesterner that I am, I thought it was one of those off-the-cuff ‘I’m offering this, but I really hope you don’t say yes, I’m just being nice’ things,” Mellenthin said. “So, I never followed up on it.” 

But Hutson was serious. Over the course of several months, the project came to fruition and in mid-February Hutson and her team renovated the Mellenthin’s daughters’ – Everly and Paisley – rooms and the nursery for their third child on the way. Soy-based paint, changing pads, mattresses and pillow inserts are just a few of the soy-based products used in the process. 

“It’s wild to me how diverse this crop is because everything from a textile to something you’d put on your wall to a cabinet or piece of furniture can use soy,” Hutson said. “I like that people that are innovative in the soy industry are really pushing the envelope. I can’t wait to see where it goes.” 

For the Mellenthins, renovating their home by using the crops they grow is a way for them to not only highlight sustainable soy-based products but also to spotlight soy checkoff investments in finding new markets for soybean oil and meal. 

“Farming is our life and so it’s really awesome to see all the hard work that Tony has put into farming and see it come full circle with all the opportunities a soybean can offer,” Katie said. 

Using her platform and status, Hutson is able to amplify the soy products available on the commercial marketplace, making her partnership with USB valuable.  

“I love supporting domestic agriculture and soybean farmers,” Hutson said. “I really like being a voice for new products that have soy as an ingredient so I can tell other colleagues and clients what’s available and just bringing knowledge and awareness to soy as an ingredient in products.” 

At the end of the day, people are people, and this experience is one the Mellenthins won’t forget. 

“Tony and I are small town individuals,” Katie said. “And oftentimes, farming is associated with small town life. So, to have this opportunity is such a blessing. It’s such a cool opportunity to have Tracy come into our home. Our kids won’t even know – they don’t understand – so I can’t wait for the years to come to explain to them how amazing of an opportunity this was for us.”