Around the Counties: Growers Raise Money for Scholarships, Bring Education to Farmers at Annual Meetings

The Minnesota Soybean Growers Association has 42 organized counties. Each of these counties have events throughout the year to help promote and educate farmers and non-farmers about soybeans. For an organization to be truly grassroots, it needs the help of many. Organized MSGA counties provide a true boots-on-the-ground approach. The efforts of these counties is truly remarkable. Around the Counties highlights some of the many things our county boards are involved in throughout the year.

Lincoln County

Lincoln County Corn and Soybean Growers know how to raise more than just corn and soybeans in their county.  During their recent annual meeting and silent auction, the organization raised nearly $23,000  for its high school scholarship program.  This is the fifth consecutive year the organization has raised more than $20,000. Since incorporating the silent auction into their annual meeting, the auction has grossed more than $150,000.   

The scholarship program is geared toward high school seniors in Lincoln county and surrounding schools. Those applying for a scholarship must have some connection to agriculture in Lincoln County.

“This scholarship program would not be possible without the many businesses in Lincoln county and surrounding counties supporting and generously contributing to our auction,” said Joel Schreurs, a member of the Lincoln County Corn and Soybean Growers board and Scholarship Chairman. Schreurs also represents Lincoln County as a director of the Minnesota Soybean Growers Association. 

Renville and Redwood

Trent Loos spent a bit of time exploring Minnesota with a pair of speaking engagements Monday, Feb. 9, and Tuesday, Feb. 10.

Loos kicked off the mini-tour Monday with the Renville County Corn and Soybean Growers Association annual meeting in Bird Island, and capped the tour with a stop at Redwood County Corn and Soybean Growers Association annual meeting in Wabasso.

Loos, a 6th generation farmer from Nebraska, spoke to the Renville and Redwood County Corn and Soybean Growers about the importance of sharing their farm story and helping people understand agriculture. Loos, a very dynamic speaker, had the crowd laughing through many stories he shared, many of which included his three daughters growing up on the farm and raising livestock.

Loos’ last piece of advice to anyone who was questioning if they could make a difference in promoting agriculture was this, “One person can always make the biggest difference; if you just follow your passion and heart, others will follow.”

Goodhue/North Wabasha

MSGA director Brad Hovel

MSGA Director Brad Hovel addresses attendees at the Goodhue/North Wabasha Corn & Soybean Growers annual meeting.

Market-to-Market’s Mike Pearson had a clear message for soybean farmers Wednesday, Feb. 11, at the Goodhue/NorthWabasha Corn & Soybean Growers and Goodhue Pork Producers Annual Ag Banquet.

 “There are three priorities this year: demand, demand, demand.”

Pearson, an Iowa native, engaged the audience with personal, entertaining stories crafted around a look at the markets. Pearson speculated on livestock’s impact on crop farming, where he sees the industry going, and the demand for U.S. soybeans overseas.

“Ethanol drove this market for the last ten 10 years,” Pearson said. “But I think it will be protein and the need for high quality protein that will carry us into the future. That will be the next driver to carry row crops.”

MSGA Director Brad Hovel gave an update about the Hill Visits to St. Paul and what he and other MSGA directors did on their behalf.

Goodhue/North Wabasha also held its annual auction, which goes to support scholarships for Goodhue County and North Wabasha County students pursuing an education in agriculture. The county raised more than $10,000 for its scholarships.

Olmsted/South Wabasha

The Olmsted/South Wabasha Corn & Soybean Growers Association held its annual meeting Feb. 9 in Elgin, Minn. Board member and See For Yourself participant Van Larson spoke to about his recent experience in Chile where he served as a guest of the Minnesota Soybean Research & Promotion Council.

Larson shared what he learned about how soybean checkoff dollars are being spent not only in Minnesota, but in climates such as Chile where breeders such as University of Minnesota soybean breeder Dr. Jim Orf can grow cultivars year-round.

MSGA Director Dan Brandt updated members about the work the Growers have done in bringing B10 to Minnesota’s pumps. Brandt also highlighted an Agri-News series their board members ran during the summer months promoting farmers in their two counties who use B20 blends or higher.

“It’s important we use our own product,” Brandt told the crowd. “We need to ask our suppliers for higher blends.”

Douglas County

Water use and stewardship is often on the minds of farmers. More recently, that has especially been the case with governor Dayton’s mention of creating potential one-size-fits-all buffer legislation.

With that in mind, Douglas County Corn & Soybean Growers brought in Warren Formo of the Minnesota Agricultural Water Resource Center (MAWRC) to speak at their annual meeting of water nutrient usage on Minnesota farms.

Formo pointed out that there’s little information actually collected about what farmers are currently doing on their farms. He described two ways that MAWRC is working on research and collecting factual information on what farmers are actually doing on-farm to protect water and manage nutrients. The purpose is ultimately to provide information and data that is factual in situations where the integrity of Minnesota farmers is questioned.

“The activist industry’s plan has been to divide and conquer,” said Formo. “If those of us in the ag industry can stay together we stand stronger, we can increase the ability of farmers to be the best land stewards they can be and want to be.”

The Douglas County Corn & Soybean Growers held their annual meeting Monday, Feb. 16, at Backroads Steakhouse in Evansville, MN.

Roseau-LOW

MSGA Director Jim Kukowski talks biodiesel at the Roseau-LOW County Soybean Growers Association annual meeting.

MSGA Director Jim Kukowski talks biodiesel at the Roseau-LOW County Soybean Growers Association annual meeting.

The Roseau – LOW County Soybean Growers held their annual Soybean Update meeting Feb. 6 in Roseau with Dr. Phil Glogoza and Dr. Ian McRae speaking on seed treatments and insect updates. Carl Younce, CHS Northland Regional Director, was the guest speaker and provided an overview on rail issues and fertilizer.

Minnesota Soybean Growers Association Director Jim Kukowski noted to those in attendance how critical it is to be a member of the MSGA and reminded the crowd that Minnesota Soybean is working hard for all farmers. He encouraged everyone to join up!  Jim also spoke on the support for Biodiesel & how it adds 73 cents in value to every bushel of U.S. soybeans while reducing cost of soybean meal for livestock producers.

Kittson

Troy and Stacy Hadrick live by the three T’s of agriculture: Talk, Teach and Touch. This was their message to attendees to the Kittson County Crop Improvement Day, held Feb 4. The three T’s really boil down to a simple message; farmers need to tell their stories of agriculture.

The Kittson County Soybean Growers hosted the Hadricks in conjunction with their annual meeting.

Norman

When you want to understand the law, sometimes it is best to talk to the law. That’s what the Norman County Soybean-Corn Growers Association did for its annual meeting Feb. 3 in Ada. Norman County hosted Sgt. Gene Kaml (Bemidji) and Commercial Vehicle Inspector Jim Hoffmann (Erskine) to discuss commercial vehicle updates and agricultural regulations.

The meeting was held in conjunction with the Private Pesticide Applicator Training provided by Dr. Phillip Glogoza of the University of Minnesota.