MSGA VP hosts state senators

A few weeks after speaking at the Minnesota Soybean Growers Association’s (MSGA) August board meeting, Sen. Aric Putnam visited MSGA Vice President Darin Johnson’s farm and seed business Aug. 24 in Wells.

“We had a really good conversation,” Johnson said. “As Senate Ag Committee chair, Sen. Putnam is able to take what he learned on our farm and explain that to the other committees so they understand the stewardship practices we use on our farm and why we do them.”

Putnam, a Democrat, was joined by GOP colleague and fellow Ag Committee member Sen. Gene Dornink, who represents Johnson’s District 27 in southern Minnesota.

“It was fantastic to have Sen. Dornink here as well to know there is some potential bipartisanship happening and that those two can work across the aisle and have that discussion,” Johnson said. “They’re working together to do what’s right for farmers.”

Following lunch, Johnson, accompanied by Executive Director Joe Smentek, gave an extensive tour of the seed treatment facility.

Darin Johnson (front left) speaks about treated seed with Sen. Aric Putnam (front) during a tour of Johnson’s farm and seed business in Faribault County.

“Sen. Putnam was very interested in this because he’d never really seen how seed treatment is applied and some of the different types of seed treatments that there are,” Johnson said.

During the 2023 legislative session, Sen. Putnam in his role helped prevent additional seed treatments from being implemented after MSGA testified in opposition of the legislation.

“I think he was surprised at how much technology is put behind seed treatment and the reasons that we do use it,” he said. “It was a great conversation.” 

Earlier in the day, Putnam and Dornink joined Ag Committee staffers on a tour of the Chevron Renewable Energy Group’s biorefinery in Albert Lea, where about 30 million gallons of biodiesel are produced each year.

“They were very interested in the technology and asked a lot of questions,” said Mike Youngerberg, executive director of the Minnesota Biodiesel Council and senior director of product development & commercialization with the Minnesota Soybean Research & Promotion Council. “I think they came away with a real understanding of how our industry can positively contribute to environmental impacts.”

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