In a battle with agricultural giants, the little bean came out on top.
Both the Minnesota Soybean Growers Association (MSGA) and the Minnesota Soybean Research & Promotion Council (MSR&PC) were declared winners at the National Agri-Marketing Association’s (NAMA) “Best of 2018” awards this week in Kansas City, Mo.
“This was a milestone moment for our organization,” says Tom Slunecka, CEO of Ag Management Solutions, which oversees both organizations. “Minnesota Soybean doesn’t think like other commodity groups, and these awards and nominations really validate our cutting-edge ideas and marketing and public relations campaigns.”
MSGA was nominated in three categories, and emerged victorious in the “News Release/Ag Media” category for an April 2018 press release criticizing a then-Gov. Mark Dayton administration policy, which led to the governor criticizing his own agency and walking back the initial proposal.
MSGA, a grassroots organization, bested such agriculture luminaries as John Deere, WinField United, Cargill and Syngenta.
“We don’t write press releases to win awards,” says MSGA Public Relations Director Doug Monson. “We issued the Dayton press release to sound the alarm on a ruling that would have been costly to farmers. While our staff is humbled by this award, the real reward is knowing we literally saved farmers tens of thousands of dollars.”
Soybean Business Magazine, MSGA’s official publication, was also nominated in two categories. Staff writer Kristeena Thisius’ profile of MSGA’s lobbyists earned entry in the “Best News or Feature Article” category, while Soybean Business was among the publications selected for “Best External Company and Association Magazines.”
MSR&PC won its first award later in the ceremony for its movie-themed 2017 annual report. Cathy Riley, Minnesota Soybean’s then-director of marketing, accepted the Council’s first place finish for her work on a 3D direct mailer. The Council’s 3D direct mailer entry defeated the likes of Bayer, Mosaic, Corteva Agriscience and Channel Seed.
MSR&PC was also nominated for its promotional partnership with the DieselSellerz’ from Discovery’s “Diesel Brothers.” In 2018, the DieselSellerz built a truck, Indomitus, for the Council.
“For our organization and staff to be nominated in six categories, and win three, is a testament to the leadership and direction of the farmers on both the Council and MSGA boards,” Slunecka says. “They set the tone, and along with our fantastic staff, we are truly a team at Minnesota Soybean.”