From Wannaska to Worthington, nearly 28,000 Minnesotans grow soybeans. Yet fewer than 10 percent are members of the Minnesota Soybean Growers Association.
“We need to have more representation in our membership,” MSGA Secretary Darin Johnson says. “The fact of the matter is we rely heavily on membership dollars to sustain our mission.”
Next week, MSGA will be unveiling a social media campaign devoted to highlighting the importance of joining MSGA. Farmer-leaders from across the state will give testimonials explaining the return on investment MSGA delivers for its members. The nonpartisan, grassroots organization has a long history in advocacy. MSGA was founded in 1962 and became the first state affiliate of the American Soybean Association. Membership dues are the primary funding source for MSGA, helping to fund Hill Visits and staff lobbyists in St. Paul and Washington, D.C.
“Membership dollars help put boots on the ground in St. Paul and Washington, D.C. Having a presence on the Hill really matters. Legislators notice,” says Bill Gordon, a Worthington farmer and president of ASA. “We punch above our weight class, but we’re all volunteers. If we had a larger pool of members, we could accomplish even more.”
Earlier in 2020, MSGA unveiled a new membership option to increase and diversify its base. Now, students can become MSGA members for just $20 per year. Additionally, MSGA loosened the age requirements for “young farmers.” Now, all farmers age 35 and younger (along with retired farmers) can join one of the nation’s largest membership-based soybean advocacy organizations for only $70 per year.
“We are really looking to bring in younger farmers to be a part of MSGA,” says MSGA Treasurer Bob Worth, chair of the organization’s membership action team. “They’re going to lead the next generation of Minnesota farmers, and we need them engaged in the process.”
MSGA offers several membership levels beyond the student and young/retired farmer options. A three-year membership is still $250 (which equates to less than 25 cents per day) and includes a free Minnesota Soybean long-sleeve pullover. A one-year membership costs $120, but is only $100 with automatic credit card renewal.
“You think about everything we’ve done with biodiesel, tax relief, trade – the return on your investment in MSGA is multifold,” Gordon says.
Prospective members can join today at mnsoybean.org/invest.