MSGA in the spotlight: Gov. Walz honors 60th anniversary

On Sept. 24, 1962, a group of Minnesota farmers gathered in Sleepy Eye to form an association to represent soybean growers at the capitol in St. Paul. Five hours later, a unanimous vote led to the creation of the Minnesota Soybean Growers Association, a farmer-led group that would help advance the state’s agriculture industry.

“It’s because of the vision of our Founding Fathers that MSGA is here today,” President Bob Worth said. “We all follow in their footsteps because they knew we needed representation when it came to policy.”

MSGA was the nation’s first state soybean association. To mark 60 years since its formation, Gov. Tim Walz is declaring Sept. 24, 2022, “Minnesota Soybean Growers Association Day” across the state.

“This is quite an honor, and we thank the governor and the Minnesota Department of Agriculture for their support of MSGA,” said Joe Smentek, MSGA Executive Director. “To be recognized in this manner is very gratifying and should be celebrated by anyone who’s been involved with MSGA over the past 60 years.”

The governor surprised MSGA directors with the proclamation order during a meeting in August at Farmfest.

Gov. Walz’s proclamation will hang in MSGA’s office in Mankato.

“Whether it’s expanding opportunities for local soybean farmers or fighting for their bottom line, the Minnesota Soybean Growers Association tirelessly serves farmers across our state,” said Gov. Walz. “I am proud to recognize their work on behalf of this multi-million dollar industry. I’m grateful for all they do to advocate for Minnesota’s soybean growers and strengthen our agriculture industry.”

Throughout 60 years in advocacy, MSGA has established with policymakers and agency leaders across both parties and all levels of government. One of MSGA’s first lobbying efforts included securing $500 in state funding for soybean research. Since then, the group has built a legacy of legislative action by: successfully advocating for research, delivering significant tax relief, expanding international markets, protecting the use of chemicals, and helping to create a biodiesel market two decades ago that now contributes nearly $1.7 billion toward Minnesota’s ag economy and adds more than $1 to the value of each bushel of soybeans.

“MSGA works on all the issues that matter to our farmers,” Worth said. “That’s why we’re getting so much done; we’re a step ahead.”

More than 40 district directors across the state serve on the nonpartisan board on behalf of the state’s approximately 27,000 soybean farmers. Members help support MSGA’s grassroots mission.

MSGA’s legacy continues to grow, but the mission remains the same: improving farmer profitability through grassroots advocacy. To join MSGA, visit mnsoybean.org/msga/invest/.

“Sixty years is really amazing,” Agriculture Commissioner Thom Petersen said during MSGA’s anniversary reception in August. “It shows the staying power of MSGA.”

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