Fresh off the highly acclaimed MN AG EXPO, the Minnesota Soybean Growers Association, in partnership with Beck’s Hybrids, debuted its Successful Farmer Series this week in southern and west central Minnesota.
Ag Management Solutions (AMS), which oversees operations of both MSGA and the Minnesota Soybean Research & Promotion Council, hosted the first Series at its office in Mankato. CEO Tom Slunecka gave a brief overview of AMS’ mission before introducing MinnStar Senior Vice President Kent Thiesse.
Thiesse delivered a presentation on farm program decisions and covered details on the Price Loss Coverage (PLC) and revenue-based Ag Risk Coverage program options for both county and farm-level yields. He also updated growers on the current trade conditions following the “Phase One” deal with China and the signing of the USMCA.
“The way I look at these agreements is it stabilizes the field,” Thiesse said. “At least we have something in place, and hopefully we can keep it moving forward.”
MSGA lobbyist Cory Bennett following with a recap of the 2019 legislative session and a look ahead to 2020. The 2020 session convenes on Feb. 11 in St. Paul.
“2019 was a huge year,” Bennett said. “Every session is unique in some way, and the second year of a (biennial) session is always harder than the first.”
Democratic Sen. Nick Frentz, who sits on the Senate Ag Committee, made a surprise appearance (Frentz’s law office is within walking distance from MSGA’s office), and spoke frankly to growers that legislators in St. Paul need to take a bipartisan approach in supporting agriculture.
“Agriculture is what the state was founded on and drives 25 percent of the state’s GDP,” Frentz said. “We have to have some agriculture voices in the DFL caucus…right now the state’s kind of split.”
To close out the session, Beck’s agronomist Dale Viktora and Nate Firle of AgRevival highlighted how farmers can tweak their agronomic strategies to boots their ROI. The two also delved into best white mold management practices and the latest research on the soybean gall midge.
“Always something new we have to challenge,” Viktora said, “and now it’s the soybean gall midge.”
The Series continued the following day in Willmar and concluded Thursday in Fergus Falls. Admission was free to all active MSGA members.