Lawrence Sukalski’s nine-year run as an American Soybean Association (ASA) director expired this week, with an opportunity to address his peers at the ASA board of directors meeting in St. Louis.
In a recent interview, the Martin County farmer said he can cite many fond memories and friendships that resulted from his involvement with ASA.
Every year for nearly a decade, Sukalski walked the grounds of Capitol Hill, forging relationships with state and federal politicians while advocating on behalf of farmers back home.
“It really is an honor to represent our local and state farmers in the halls of Congress,” Sukalski said. “It’s special every time we went there.”
Informing legislators on voting for ag-friendly policy was both a privilege and responsibility to Sukalski. He says he took great pride in explaining to legislators why their votes were crucial to supporting agriculture.
“It’s our duty to educate legislators on how to defend their votes,” he said. “It’s not just asking them for more biodiesel – it’s giving them the knowledge to support their vote after they vote your way, and that’s truly all they’re looking for. They want the knowledge.”
Sukalski began his policy career as a member of the Martin County Corn and Soybean Association before representing the county as an MSGA director. He’s since served three consecutive three-year terms as an ASA director.
“I knew I wanted to be involved to help my family and neighbors,” he said. “I got to work with more good people and learn how things work in St. Paul and Washington D.C.”
Sukalski also learned some valuable flying tips during his numerous flights to D.C. He often reserved his flight seats early, never knowing which influencers might be sitting next to him.
“I would try to get in the first row of coach, and I realized that’s where most of the legislators sit,” says Sukalski, who shared rows with Rep. Colin Peterson and Rep. Rick Nolan. “You get right behind first class, you never know who might be next to you.”
However, the Fairmont, Minn., farmer has a new role ahead of him. Sukalski was recently appointed to serve a three-year term as a director on the United Soybean Board.
Worthington farmer re-elected as treasurer
During the ASA board of directors meeting, Bill Gordon was re-elected as ASA treasurer. Gordon, a farmer from Worthington, Minn., has served on the board of directors since 2012.