Lance Peterson

MSGA Leaders Talk Advocacy at April Board Meeting

Minnesota Soybean Growers Association directors received a full dose of legislative updates when the board met April 1 in Mankato.

MSGA lobbyist Jerry Schoenfeld of Greater State Advisors presented to the board the state of the session, calling special attention to the ag research proposal put together by a coalition of ag groups. Schoenfeld said the concern with the ag research proposal was that the target budgets needed to have funding available was likely not going to come in as high as needed.

Schoenfeld also gave an update of the Gov. Mark Dayton’s buffer proposal, which he said had a long way to go before it would be passed.

The MSGA also heard reports from several industry partners, including Ed Ebert with Bunge, Kiersten Schroeder and Emilie Hitch of Broadhead and several action team reports.

Schroeder and Hitch presented research that was performed by Broadhead to gauge the work being done by the MSGA, as well as the Minnesota Soybean Research & Promotion Council.

Minnesota Soybean Chief Executive Officer Tom Slunecka said the research Broadhead performed was invaluable to the organization, as it will give MSGA directors and staff the ability to see where more work is needed, and to see how that work aligns with the strategic plan of Minnesota Soybean.

“The farmers have set the direction for our organization with the strategic plan, and our staff has been working diligently to execute on that plan,” Slunecka told the Growers. “I think what’s exciting about the plan and the way it is constructed is that the action teams work across all areas of the strategic plan. We’re starting to get some synergy with this.”

Slunecka said it is important for Minnesota soybean farmers to understand the strategic plan was developed as a guide for both MSR&PC and MSGA. Some of the successes from the past year include:

  • Small-groups for St. Paul Hill visits that targeted legislators on a more personal level
  • Hosting legislators at reception in St. Paul in a more relaxed atmosphere
  • Several educational meetings, including topics such as weed resistance and farm transition
  • Introduction of first webinar series, which covered the ins-and-outs of the 2014 Farm Bill
  • Introduction of new website and new newsletter format (Minneline), which helps position Minnesota Soybean as the definitive source for soybean information and news
  • Successful defense of B10 from unnecessary exemptions
  • Introduction of an advocacy blog featuring advocacy action team chairman and MSGA Vice President Paul Freeman
  • Implementation of social media campaign to make connection with next generation of farmers