To our board members and all the members of Minnesota Soybean Growers Association (MSGA), I am seeking the position of Vice President of MSGA.
Leadership can be looked at in two ways: one of experience and one of vision. My experiences as an MSGA board member the past three years and with the Dodge County Corn and Soybean Growers for six years, three as treasurer, are great starting points, but not the same experience as many of my fellow MSGA board members. But then, I’m not the typical board member.
I grew up in Stillwater, Minn., not the farm. I worked on the farm on the weekends and eventually came back to farming, but I didn’t start that way. At times some may view me as the black sheep of farming. For me, I see my upbringing as one of diversity. I hold two Bachelors of Science in Plant Biology and Plant Breeding and Genetics from the University of Minnesota. I also hold a Master’s of Science in Agronomy with an emphasis in molecular genetics. From Stillwater on through to the University of Florida, I have been around many different people.
MSGA’s focal point now and into the future needs to be one that centers on policy. I am very interested in policy, lobbying and legislative work because I see everything MSGA does feeding off of policy. Think of it like a three-circle Venn diagram. The three circles are members, education and research, and the overlapping center is policy. We need membership because larger membership numbers help give us credibility when lobbying. Membership also helps fund our activities, including research and education. We need research to help farmers and to give us credibility when advocating. We need education to help farmers on their farms, but also to explain our points to legislators and influence.
All those activities feed into policy, and my diverse background gives me a unique advantage when talking to the urban population. I am a strong communicator and am comfortable speaking publicly. I can also lean on my strong educational background to easily talk GMOs or biofuels.
I don’t have the experience of the other board members, but I do have vision and am smart enough to realize the experience of our board is our greatest resource, one in which I would lean heavily on to help me carry out a vision to make MSGA even stronger. For these reasons, I ask for your support.