Kittson County honored for membership, promotion efforts

The Kittson County Soybean Growers Association was named the Minnesota Soybean Growers Association’s (MSGA) County of the Year during MSGA’s Annual Meeting Jan. 19 during MN AG EXPO.

“Kittson County may border North Dakota and Canada, but it’s Minnesota all the way,” MSGA Executive Director Joe Smentek said upon presenting the board with the award. “As they do every year, in 2022 the Kittson County Soybean Growers continued to step up for their commodities and their communities.”

In 2022, local growers participated in the Minnesota Soybean Research & Promotion Council’s Stepping Up campaign; donated pencils with soybean messaging to local schools; made ham and turkey holiday donations; and held an MSGA membership night, among many other activities.

“We try our best to be active,” said board member Theresia Gillie, an MSGA director who served as president from 2016-2017. “It’s great to be recognized at the state level for our involvement.”

MSGA, a membership-based organization that advocates for farm-friendly legislation in St. Paul and Washington, D.C., is well-represented in northwest Minnesota. Of the approximately 150 soybean growers in Kittson County, nearly half are active MSGA members. 

“I’m so proud of our county that we have such a large percentage of our farmers who are members,” said Gillie, who farms east of Hallock. “Everybody should understand the value of being a member of MSGA, because every member has a specific voice in our organization.”

Each year, the board sends “thank you” letters to its members and include a $10 gift card for use at local businesses. They remind the members how their dedication to agriculture keeps the voice of farmers alive and heard at the local, state, and federal level. Kittson County growers truly value the importance of membership and the commitment of family farming in their community.

“Kittson County always works as a team. Each director makes a great effort to be at county meetings and is always willing to help on any project,” Smentek said. “They are truly a staple in their community.”

The board, which meets regularly, also has plenty of fun, too.

“When we get together, we just have a great time,” Gillie said. “What a privilege.”

MSGA’s membership dues average less than 25 cents per-day for a three-year-membership. Click here to join the nation’s first state soybean advocacy organization, which marked 60 years of advocacy in 2022. Minnesota is the only state with a county soybean program, supporting more than 40 grassroots, local organizations across the state. 

Follow The Conversation