Jamie Beyer is ready for her second act.
The Wheaton farmer’s first year presiding over the Minnesota Soybean Growers Association hit an unforeseen roadblock in March, when COVID-19 effectively closed down MSGA’s face-to-face advocacy outreach. As a result, MSGA’s fundraising and grassroots advocating efforts, along with the trajectory of Beyers’s presidency, were turned upside down.
“Out of all the scenarios I played out in my head, (a pandemic) wasn’t one I had planned for,” the Wheaton farmer, who took over the reins in July 2019, recently told Soybean Business. “I felt like my time got cut short. There was no resolution. There was no ending.”
During MSGA’s July virtual board meeting, Beyer’s peers reelected her to MSGA’s top post, affording her another year to represent the interests of Minnesota’s nearly 28,000 farmers in St. Paul and Washington, D.C.
“I’m very thankful for the opportunity,” she said. “It’s nice to have the support of the organization.”
Beyer’s first year as president was highlighted by MSGA securing $5 million toward the Ag Innovation Campus in Crookston, along with $30 million in disaster assistance. Beyer represented MSGA during Farmfest, Hill Visits and Commodity Classic. Last fall she hosted Lt. Gov. Peggy Flanagan at her family farm and appeared on the nationally syndicated “Advancement Series” program. Beyer, who farms with her husband, Rodd, also participated in numerous water quality meetings with the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency, and conducted dozens of interviews with agricultural media.
“Being president is a busy, non-stop job,” she said. “But it’s something I now don’t take for granted.”
At first, Beyer was initially reluctant to take on the demands of president for a second year. The unusual circumstances of 2020, combined with a pivotal election in November, convinced her to take a crack at rewriting her ending and completing unfinished business.
“I think how this year ended has a lot to do with my decision,” Beyer said, before adding, “The second year is always harder.”
Beyer isn’t kidding herself. She knows the hard work has only begun amid an election year and an agriculture industry gripped by uncertainty and anxiety. But she’s ready for the challenge.
“We’ve got to figure out how to move forward and not get stuck in the shock of our current situation,” she said. “We’ll be trying to figure out new ways of working with legislators and virtually mimicking the fundraising events we normally have. It’s going to take a lot of creativity this year.”
Beyer is the third woman to serve as MSGA president in the organization’s nearly 60-year history, and the first female farmer elected president in consecutive years. Kristin Weeks-Duncanson (2002-’03) and Theresia Gillie (2016-’17), respectively, were the first two women to lead MSGA.
“I was unaware that I’m the first (woman) to serve two terms, but it’s certainly an honor,” Beyer said. “It’s pretty cool to know I’m in great company – there’s so much history with MSGA.”
Mike Skaug (Beltrami) was reelected vice president; Bob Worth (Lake Benton) was named treasurer and Darin Johnson (Wells) will return as secretary. MSGA’s board also re-appointed Joel Schreurs (Tyler) to the American Soybean Association Board.
“It’s such an awesome group of individuals on this board,” Beyer says. “When I look at the roster, I see a whole list of community leaders and people who are important to their counties. It speaks to the success of this organization that we have so much expertise.”