Around the Counties: Annual Meetings, Scholarship Auctions, Donations & More

The Minnesota Soybean Growers Association has 43 organized county organizations. Each of these counties has events throughout the year to help promote and educate farmers and non-farmers about soybeans. For an organization to be truly grassroots, it needs the help of many. Organized MSGA counties provide a true boots-on-the-ground approach. The efforts of these counties are truly remarkable.  Around the Counties highlights some of the many things our county boards are involved in throughout the year.

Kit Welchlin

Kit Welchlin was the keynote speaker at the Watonwan County Corn and Soybean Growers annual meeting.

Watonwan–A familiar name returned home as the keynote speaker during the annual meeting of the Watonwan County Corn and Soybean Growers in January. Kit Welchlin, originally from Watonwan County, presented “Generational Communication and Handling Difficult People” to a packed house. Watonwan County Corn & Soybean Growers chairman Tom Eng said the board was excited for area corn and soybean growers to hear Welchlin’s message.

“Kit’s message was really relevant to many of our family farm operations and applicable in some way to all who attended our annual meeting,” Eng said.

Murray –As a number of Minnesotans still struggle to put enough food on the table for their families, some Murray County farmers recently addressed the issue with a donation to a local food shelf in Slayton. Last month, the Murray County Corn & Soybean Growers donated $500 to the Murray County Food Shelf to support the efforts of filling the needs of struggling families.

“We really wanted to support the community, especially during February, when all funds collected were matched by Minnesota Masonic Charities for the Food Shelf,” said board member Brent Miller, who made the presentation to the food shelf on behalf of the Murray County Corn & Soybean Growers.

Chippewa – The Chippewa County Corn & Soybean Growers have been sponsoring “Ag Trends,” with local Montevideo radio stations. The segments cover a variety of topics meant for both farmer and non-farmer audiences including policy information, water issues and agriculture advocacy.

Douglas – Katie Pinke was the guest speaker at the Douglas County Corn & Soybean Growers Annual meeting in Brandon on Feb. 15. Rep. Paul Anderson, R-Minn., chairman for the Minnesota House Agriculture Policy committee, also addressed farmers and discussed the upcoming legislative session and touched on the buffer legislation. Anderson farms near Starbuck, Minn.

Lac qui Parle – Lac qui Parle held their annual meeting in Madison, Minn., on Feb. 11. Warren Formo, executive director with Minnesota Agriculture Water and Resource Center (MAWRC), talked with farmers about buffer legislation and fielded questions about the implementation of the law. Sen. Gary Dahms, assistant minority leader, talked to farmers about the 2016 session and explained how the buffer law came about in the 2015 legislative session.

Otter Tail/Grant – Otter Tail/Grant is going to be working with their local radio station to share agricultures commitment to clean water and the impact biofuels have. Otter Tail and Grant counties are summer lake hot spots and see a substantial increase in population making this partnership very beneficial to sharing their messages.

Swift County donated hams during the Christmas season to local food shelves.

Swift County donated hams during the Christmas season to local food shelves.

Pope – The Pope County Corn and Soybean board is working with the Minnewaska FFA chapter and sponsoring agriculture students and FFA members to attend the Summer Greenhand Leadership Conference.

Swift – Swift County’s annual meeting took place in late January. Bret Oelke was the guest speaker and talked to farmers about managing input costs for the upcoming crop year. Swift County Corn and Soybean Growers also made their annual donation of hams to their local food shelf, which are included in the Christmas Baskets. Swift county corn and soybean farmers donate twice a year, Christmas and Easter, to their local food shelf supporting their community and the consumers of Swift county soybeans.

Todd – Todd County Corn & Soybean Growers are working toward becoming a recognized soybean county. They have steadily been working on gaining members since November of 2015. The Todd County annual meeting will take place on March 15.

Lincoln– Lincoln County Corn and Soybean Growers once again had a successful annual meeting on Saturday, Feb. 6 at the Hendrick’s Golf Club. The Lincoln County Corn and Soybean Growers welcomed three new members to the board, Jon Johnson, Nancy Popowski and Pat Jerzak. Following the meeting, the annual scholarship auction took place where the county corn and soybean growers raised more than $20,000 to go toward scholarships for high school seniors around the county.

Redwood and Renville -Redwood County Corn and Soybean Growers hosted their annual meeting at Jackpot Casino on Monday, Feb. 22. At the annual meeting, the board welcomed two new members, Justin Schwecke and Paul Daub. Following the meeting, Jerry Carroll, a farmer and comedian from North Carolina, filled the room with laughter and farm humor.

McLeod– Montana logger Bruce Vincent had a simple message for attendees to the McLeod County Corn & Soybean Growers Association’s Annual Banquet and Ag Appreciation Night Jan. 30 in Glencoe, Minn. — if farmers don’t speak up about how they farm, their stories will be determined by others. Vincent shared his message with approximately 150 attendees to the banquet, which also saw the McLeod County Corn & Soybean Growers honor KGLB 1300 General Manager Jeremy Stender with the Friend of Ag award.

Steele– Steele County hosted their annual meeting at the Owatonna VFW on Feb. 29. Gordon Kralovetz of Chido Commodities gave a market outlook for attendees and explained how to interpret influencing factors.

Katie Pinke was the guest speaker at the Kandiyohi annual meeting.

Katie Pinke was the guest speaker at the Kandiyohi annual meeting.

Olmsted/South Wabasha– Olmsted/South Wabasha Corn and Soybean Growers held their annual meeting on Feb. 15 in Elgin. Dan Brandt, MSGA director, gave an update on ethanol and biodiesel, focusing on the importance of using the product produced by farmers. Machinery Pete concluded the night as the keynote speaker.

Kandiyohi – Kandiyohi County had their annual meeting in early July. More than 175 farmers and agriculture supporters attended the meeting in Willmar where guest speaker Katie Pinke spoke about the need and importance of sharing agriculture’s story. The Kandiyohi Board also signed on to another joint promotion with the Willmar Stingers baseball club for the upcoming season.

Dakota/Rice– Dakota/Rice Corn and Soybean Growers held their annual meeting Feb. 22 in Northfield, Minn. The board highlighted a video that was created by the Randolph FFA students. The video shows everyday chores and duties that take place on the farm. Minnesota Ag in the Classroom’s Al Withers concluded the night as the keynote speaker.

Goodhue/North Wabasha– Goodhue/North Wabasha Corn and Soybean Growers, along with the Goodhue Pork Produers held their annual meeting Feb. 29 in Zumbrota, Minn. The annual meeting is held in conjunction with their annual scholarship auction. The auction raises money for area high school agricultural students. Machinery Pete concluded the night at the keynote speaker.

Nicollet/Sibley– The Nicollet/Sibley Corn and Soybean Growers Board of Directors gathered at the HyVee in New Ulm last December to shop for soy food products. All products containing soy were donated to the local food shelves. 

Scott/ Le Sueur– The Scott/ Le Sueur Corn and Soybean Growers hosted a legislative update meeting in New Prague, Minn. Rep. Bob Vogel (R-District 20A), Rep. David Bly (DFL-District 20B), and Sen. Kevin Dahle (DFL-District 20), spoke to attendees on the upcoming legislative session, including the buffer bill, property tax relief, the bonding bill and transportation.