MSGA lobbyists ‘Spill the Beans’ in return of webinar series

To debut the 2022 Spill the Beans webinar series, Minnesota Soybean Growers Association lobbyists Cory Bennett and A.J. Duerr offered an overview of the legislative environment in St. Paul, and looked ahead to the upcoming November elections.

“When we look at this legislative session, there are a set of factors that are going to have to be addressed,” Bennett said.

Those myriad factors will include: a budget surplus that could exceed a record $8 billion; a fierce battle over redistricting; and a election in November (all 201 legislators and Gov. Walz are up for reelection) that could tilt the balance of power in St. Paul. It will be a tall task for one of the nation’s only divided governments.

“Neither side is going to want to give an inch,” said Bennett, who predicted there will also be a bonding bill. “But the state is flush with money.”

The session began on Monday, Jan. 31 and must conclude by May 23. This is the second year of the biennium, and the Legislature will pick up where it left off when the session wrapped last summer.

“For us, this is the hardest of the two,” Bennett said. “Bills that were introduced in 2021 can be carried over.”

The session will be a hybrid of virtual/in person legislating. The Senate is conducting most of its business in person – however, some Senate Democrats are working virtually – while the House is mostly operating virtually. The Capitol is open to visitors and advocates. In a face-to-face industry, Bennett said he’s glad to visit in person with legislators.  

“We’re in a hands-on business,” he said.

Bennett also discussed MSGA’s 2022 legislative priorities, which include:

  • Climate issues
  • Rural infrastructure
  • Ag Innovation Campus
  • Biodiesel
  • Taxes
  • Protecting pesticides
  • Health care

Every session throws a curveball or two MSGA’s way, but Bennett said MSGA will be ready to adapt when necessary. Bennett and his fellow lobbyist, A.J. Duerr, implement MSGA’s policy agenda alongside MSGA farmer-leaders. Together, Bennett and Duerr have more than 45 years of combined experience.

“There are always things we don’t anticipate that we’ll have to be react to,” Bennett.

Click here to watch a full recap of the premiere episode.

Spill the Beans airs Wednesday, Feb. 2 at 9 a.m. on Zoom and will be broadcasted on MSGA’s Facebook page. This webinar will run each Wednesday through March 9. The Feb. 9 episode will feature Rob Prather, chair of the Specialty Soya & Grains Alliance, who will present on how to diversify a soybean crop with Identity Preserved.

Spill the Beans is free, but registration is recommended, as all registered participants will be eligible to win a $100 gift card. Register here today.

For sponsorship opportunities, contact Sara Hewitt at shewitt@mnsoybean.com. All proceeds from the Spill the Beans webinar series help support MSGA’s advocacy efforts in St. Paul and Washington, D.C.

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