MSR&PC Candidates Set; Voters Encouraged to Participate

The candidate filing process has come and gone for the Minnesota Soybean Research & Promotion Council elections, held by the Minnesota Department of Agriculture each spring.

Six candidates have filed for five open seats. Those candidates are Bill Zurn, Kris Folland, Cole Trebesch, Eric Thorn, Jim Call and Jim Willers. Zurn and Folland are each running for one open spot that covers Distrcits 1, 2 and 3.

Voters wishing to vote in the elections for Districts 1, 2 and 3; District 4; District 7; District 8; and District 9 can read the rules of eligibility here. A producer who hasn’t voted before can request a ballot directly on our website.

Council elections will be held in March. For more information contact MSR&PC Election Chair Keith Schrader at 507-649-1574 or email him at

Candidate bios:

Districts 1, 2 & 3

Bill Zurn, Callaway, Minn., Becker County

Bill grows soybeans, corn, sugar beets and wheat. He is or has been involved in the Minnesota Soybean Growers Association, Minnesota Wheat, Minnesota Corn, Red River Vally Sugar Beet Growers, Township Association, Director Lake Park Coop, North Dakota Air Guard Retired Association, President Becker/Mahnomen Soybean & Corn Growers, Currents Director Minnesota Soybean Research & Promotion Council.

On the Council, Bill says:

I would like to expand soybean use both domestically and internationally. The last several years, we have gained presence domestically with bioheat and biofuels. We also have opened new international markets presence in Southeast Asia by giving them knowledge concerning the Critical Amino Acid Value found in our Northern grown beans. For the last three years, by working with our team, these goals have Minnesota Soybean gaining huge strides. I would like to continue to contribute to this organization ad help all growers received the price deserved.

Kris Folland, Halma, Minn., Kittson County

Kris grows soybeans, corn, spring wheat, winter wheat, rye and hay and has a 100 head cow/calf operation. Kris is or has been involved in the Minnesota Soybean Growers Association, Kittson County Soybean Growers Association, Minnesota Association of Wheat Growers, Minnesota State Cattlemen’s Association, American Society of Agronomy, Lake Bronson Farmers Union Oil Co.- Board Director, Farm Service Agency County Committee-Kittson.

On the Council, Kris says:

I operate a crop and livestock farm which gives me perspective as a producer, consumer, and seller of soybeans and soybean products. Our crop rotation is over half soybeans each year, and we will seed over 1000 acres of soybeans in 2015. I am a graduate of the University of Minnesota with a degree in Plant Industries Management. Along with our farm operation I am also a Certified Crop Advisor and work for the Minnesota Crop Improvement Association. I work closely with seed growers and producers of both traited and conventional soybeans. I also understand the importance of domestic and international markets to add value and most importantly, profit for the soybean growers of Minnesota. Research is very important to me as soybeans need to be profitable on our farm and are an important crop in Minnesota. My wife and I have four wonderful children and enjoy living in Northwest Minnesota.

District 4

Jim Call, Madison, Minn., Lac Qui Parle

Jim grows soybeans and corn. Jim is or has been involved in the Minnesota Soybean Growers Association, American Soybean Association, National Corn Growers Association, Minnesota Corn Growers Association, South Dakota Soybean Processors and the United Soybean Board.

On the Council, Jim says:

I think it is important to have good active farmers on the soybean checkoff board. I have been active on the state and national checkoff boards for 13 years. I believe that all funding decisions be based on return on investment to the farmers of Minnesota. I believe that the Minnesota soybean checkoff has been a leader in the country in the areas of soy biodiesel, international marketing and promotion of animal agriculture and needs to continue promotion in these areas.

District 7

Jim Willers, Beaver Creek, Minn., Rock

Jim grows soybeans, corn and hay. He is or has been involved in the Minnesota Soybean Growers Association, United Soybean Board, Minnesota Corn Growers Association, Minnesota Soybean Research & Promotion Council, MN Farm Bureau, Soy Nutrition Institute, MN Biodiesel Council, Rock County Corn and Soybean Growers Assocation.

On the Council, Jim says:

I will work to promote and grow high-yielding, high-quality soybeans, to provide protein and oil in a profitable and sustainable way.

District 8

Cole Trebesch, Springfield, Minn., Brown

Cole grows corn and soybeans. He is or has been involved with Minnesota Soybean Growers Association, Minnesota Corn Growers Association, MN Farm Bureau.

On the Council, Cole says:

I have had the privilege to serve on the Minnesota Soybean Growers Association (MSGA) the past seven years. Being a part of MN Soybean has provided me with more opportunities to grow as well as serve the soybean industry more than I thought possible. The council and the growers as well as staff do a great job of working together for MN soybean farmers. I have served in positions on MSGA such as co-chair of the research and environment teams as well as secretary and currently treasurer. I would like to make the move over to the MSR&PC so that I may help invest MN soybean farmers’ checkoff wisely and also to continue the legacy of MSGA and MSR&PC working together for MN farmers.

District 9

Eric Thorn, Chatfield, Minn., Fillmore

Eric grows soybeans, corn and alfalfa and raises more than 100 head of livestock. He is or has been involved in Minnesota Soybean Growers Association, Minnesota Corn Growers Association, Minnesota Beef Growers and Minnesota Farm Bureau.

On the Council, Eric says.

I am very interested in the Minnesota Soybean Research & Promotion Council projects we have been doing with the University of Minnesota and the research we have to do that the farmers in my district want and need in the future of soybeans. As the world changes, we need to find new uses for soybeans and make sure we get the most out of the checkoff.