Minnesota Soybean Growers Association (MSGA) directors are feeling a bit better about adding a pre-resolution meeting in December after Wednesday’s delegate session ran smoothly and quicker than in previous years.
“The results were exceptional,” said MSGA Vice President Paul Freeman, who also heads the advocacy team for the Association. “We made a lot of changes, and they were well received. We met our goal of having a better product.”
The delegate session, held before the annual meeting, lasted a little more than an hour, down from previous sessions. While there was discussion on some resolutions, amendments and in cases, resolutions struck down, the process went off without much fanfare.
“The goal we set forth for this body was to have a clear and concise document moving forward,” Freeman said as he addressed MSGA delegates.
Participation was high as well, with 143 delegates participating in the process.
Norman County MSGA Director Corey Hanson was pleased with both the turnout and the process.
“This year was definitely smoother,” Hanson said. “The nice thing is, having gone through the pre-resolution process and now the delegate session, is that we have ideas moving forward about how to make it even better.”
Freeman said one of the changes that added value to the delegate session was adding live surveys to the meeting.
“We had representation throughout the state that we could poll and get input in different ways to expand on what we are doing,” he said.
Greater State Advisers and MSGA lobbyist Jerry Schoenfeld also addressed the delegates, laying out a map of what the legislative session will look like for agriculture. Schoenfeld explained how the climate is strong for rural and agriculture groups to work together on achieving farm friendly legislation.
During the annual meeting, MSGA members were treated to a report from American Soybean Association and MSGA Director Lawrence Sukalski, who started his report by roasting retiring ASA and MSGA director Bob Worth.
“Has anyone here ever had Bob tell you a story about peeing his pants,” Sukalski asked. “Well, Bob. It’s probably a good thing you’re retiring because all these podiums are see-through glass now.”
Sukalski said the ASA’s focus for 2015 will be protecting soybean farmers’ freedom to operate, building domestic demand, and expanding international demand and market access.
Other speakers included annual meeting sponsor Dekalb-Asgrow, former United Soybean Board Chairman and Minnesotan Jim Call, and MSGA President George Goblish.
Goblish assured MSGA members that defending B10 will be one of the Association’s top goals in 2015. He also said it will be important for MSGA to monitor damaging legislation that could impact Minnesota soybean farmers’ freedom to operate.
“We will also push for bridges and better roads in rural Minnesota,” he said. “We have neglected transportation for too long.”