Consumer outreach highlighted at annual event
Each year, the Minnesota Soybean Growers Association (MSGA) sends state or county directors to the ASA Soybean Leadership College, which provides current and future agricultural industry leaders with training to effectively promote the soybean industry, communicate key agricultural messages and work to expand U.S. soybean market opportunities domestically and internationally.
Approximately 120 agricultural enthusiasts, leaders and college students attended the event.
This year, Mike Skaug, Polk County; Jim Kukowski, Roseau/Lake of the Woods; Jeremy Hanson, Dakota/Rice; Chris Hill, Jackson County; Zack Johnson, Pope County and Tom Grundman, Douglas County, attended the Soybean Leadership College Jan. 5-7 in Orlando, Fla.
Johnson, Chairman of the Pope County Corn and Soybean Growers, attended the event because of the importance of effective communication with consumers and to continually improve his leadership skills.
“I attended the conference because I think it’s important we educate ourselves so we can find an effective way to talk with consumers and build trust in what we are doing,” Johnson said. “My biggest takeaway was the fact there is so much technology out there that can solve problems like citrus greening and avian influenza. But because consumers don’t understand the science and we don’t take advantage of the conversation, we aren’t allowed to use them.”
Several panel discussions were presented in a variety of topics. Jayson Lusk, Ph.D., Oklahoma State University discussed current and future agricultural trends. Kevin Folta, Ph.D., University of Florida, spoke on science and its impact on agriculture. Shane Meeker, Proctor & Gamble, discussed storytelling for businesses and author, speaker and professional speech coach, David Okerlund spoke on making the best of a challenge in agriculture.
SLC attendees also attended breakout sessions on soybean sustainability, financial management and social media for farming.