After nearly 4,000 Minnesota farmers received ballots, the Minnesota Soybean Research & Promotion Council (MSR&PC) has finalized its 2021 election results. A total of five seats were up for election this season, with four farmers earning re-election and one newcomer joining the Council.
Kittson County farmer Kris Folland (Districts 1, 2 & 3); Rock County farmer Jim Willers (District 7); current MSR&PC Chair and Brown County farmer Cole Trebesch (District 8) and Dover farmer Benjamin Storm (District 9) were all re-elected. Pope County farmer Paul Freeman, a longtime agricultural leader in Minnesota, was elected as the new District 4 representative. Freeman replaces longtime Council Director Jim Call, who is retiring after more than 20 years on the Council. Call will be featured in the upcoming May-June issue of Soybean Business.
“I’ve known Jim through the years and respect him highly,” Freeman said. “He did a great job and I know I can’t fill his huge shoes, but I’m looking forward to the opportunity to making sure checkoff funds are used wisely.”
This year, more than 3,900 farmers across the state received an election ballot sent out by the Minnesota Department of Agriculture, which administers the election.
“We’re excited to welcome Paul Freeman to our team, and, of course, we thank Jim Call for his dedication. We also welcome back our fellow directors who were elected again,” MSR&PC Election Chair Joe Serbus said. “The diversity and experience of the Council allows for a variety of approaches to addressing the agricultural challenges and opportunities throughout Minnesota.”
All five elected directors will serve three-year terms that begin July 1.
MSR&PC is the 15-seat, elected board of soybean producers from Minnesota who direct checkoff investments toward programs designed to increase the profitability for the state’s nearly 28,000 soybean farmers. Later this spring, the Council will be unveiling a statewide “Driving Soy” campaign to promote checkoff investments in soy-based tires.
“I want to serve on the Minnesota Soybean Research & Promotion Council to help find new uses and new markets for Minnesota soybeans,” Storm said. “Whether the markets are local or aboard, it’s about helping improve the profitability for Minnesota soybean farmers.”
The soybean checkoff is federally mandated by the Soybean Promotion, Research, and Consumer Information Act. Every time a Minnesota soybean farmer sells soybeans, one half of 1% of the market price is checked off. Half of the checkoff is utilized by Minnesota, while the other half is directed by the United Soybean Board. Checkoff resources are used to promote, educate and develop market opportunities for soybeans.
“Serving Minnesota soybean farmers on the Minnesota Soybean Research & Promotion Council has been a privilege and an honor,” Willers said. “Investing checkoff dollars in research and promotion that benefits all soybean farmers and the soybean industry has always been my goal. These investments have been beneficial to the growth of the soybean industry. I will work to see that this continues to benefit the soybean industry.”