Taking a stand: MSGA advocates via court system

The Minnesota Soybean Growers Association (MSGA) doesn’t just work legislative channels to advocate on behalf of its members and the state’s nearly 28,000 soybean farmers. MSGA also advocates outside the policy realm by navigating the court system to protect established markets and defend against regulatory overreach.  

“It takes a lot of resources to keep boots on the ground at the capitols in St. Paul and D.C., and we can’t do this work without members to sustain it,” MSGA President Bob Worth said. “We have a great board, staff and lobbyists, but we need those members to continue advocating at both the legislature and the courtroom.”

In March 2023, MSGA took a big stand when it joined a lawsuit challenging the state of Minnesota’s adoption of California’s “Clean Cars Rule.” The lawsuit, filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Minnesota, challenges the legality of Minnesota Pollution Control Agency rules requiring that new cars, light-duty trucks and medium-duty vehicles in the state meet emission limits set by California and match California’s requirements for the sale of a certain percentage of so-called “zero-emission vehicles,” as defined by California regulators.

“We are standing up to protect biodiesel against attacks at the federal and state level by joining lawsuits challenging actions that harm our homegrown, low carbon fuels,” MSGA Executive Director Joe Smentek said. “Our members are helping to fund that mission.”

But legal advocacy is expensive, and MSGA’s legal efforts are ongoing. Only 10% of the state’s soybean farmers are active members, and MSGA is encouraging Minnesota soybean farmers and agribusinesses to support the organization’s efforts by joining today. Membership levels start at just $20 per-year, while a three-year membership costs less than 25 cents per day and offers a bevy of benefits.

Wells farmer Darin Johnson joined MSGA to ensure the next generation has the resources to operate the family farm.

“Because we can’t use checkoff dollars to lobby, membership has been the backbone of our association for over 60 years,” Vice President Darin Johnson said. “It’s so important for our industry to stand together and support groups like MSGA.”

Thanks to its membership support, MSGA earned numerous policy wins during the 2023 Legislative Session, including saving farmers millions of dollars in tax relief and helping to establish the state’s first grain indemnity fund, along with protecting pesticides and biodiesel.

“MSGA does so much for our operations and businesses – it’s a huge return on investment when you join,” Worth said. “Membership truly does matter.”

Click here to learn how it pays to join MSGA. MSGA will also hold a special membership giveaway during Farmfest Aug. 1-3.

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