Minnesota is the only state in the country to support organized corn and soybean counties. Each year, these 44 grassroots counties, each led by farmer volunteers, use checkoff dollars to promote agriculture in their communities – from parades to educational initiatives to biodiesel promotions. We take a look back at the highlights from the past several months of county promotions throughout Minnesota.
Around the Counties: Southwestern Minnesota
In April, the Rock County Corn and Soybean Growers collaborated with Luverne’s Take 16 Brewery to host a ‘Farm to Pint’ event with all proceeds donated to the local backpack program. In total, with matching funds, the Rock County Corn and Soybean Growers donated $4,000 to the backpack program to help provide meals to area students in need
With a burgeoning agricultural program at Southwest Minnesota State University (SMSU) in Marshall, each year the Lyon County Corn and Soybean Growers host an Ag Bowl celebration that includes a football game dedicated to agriculture in the fall and a FFA Scholarship Invite event in the spring. The Lyon County Growers continue to sponsor the event, this year taking it to the next level. Farmers hosted an educational booth promoting corn and soybeans to nearly 300 FFA members and handed out promotional supplies to 200 football visitors, all while raising awareness of the agricultural industry.
Farm safety continues to be a top priority and the Murray County Corn and Soybean Growers are doing their part of share that message. Coordinating with area businesses and events, Murray County developed a farm safety trailer that travels to events throughout southwest Minnesota.
Membership is crucial to the Minnesota Soybean Growers Association (MSGA). The Yellow Medicine Soybean Growers realize the importance of investing in MSGA and hosted a trap shoot event for current and new MSGA members.
The Nobles County Corn and Soybean Growers invited 500 Worthington middle school sixth-graders to learn more about agriculture during on-farm visits in early October.
Students received hands-on experience in both the crop and livestock production, farm safety and agricultural bi-products. The full day of events included visits to Matt Widboom and Tim Hansberger’s farms.
“For some, this was their first time every being on a farm,” says Board Chair Matt Widboom. “With so many people now removed from the farm, bringing them back to this environment was a unique way to bring everyone together and share an important message.”
In December, the Nicollet/Sibley County Corn and Soybean Growers partnered with the local Hyvee store and county food shelfs. They walked the aisles searching for soy-based products to donate, ultimately filling eight carts totaling more than 450 pounds.
The Martin County Corn and Soybean Growers reaches out to area youth in many ways. The Board hosted a kids safety day with area schools that displayed vital information on kids and adult safety while being on a farm. Martin County also holds a teacher tour to help educate teachers across Minnesota on farm topics.
West Central Minnesota
The Kandiyohi County Corn and Soybean Growers continued their sponsorship with the Willmar Stingers baseball team with a night of agricultural fun at the game on July 25. Board members brought in stalks of corn to decorate the field and stadium like a corn field. The first 200 kids in attendance received a soybean baseball.
The Traverse County Corn and Soybean Growers fueled up school busses and fire and rescue vehicles with biodiesel. Fire and ambulance departments in area school districts each received monetary donations for the purchase of biodiesel for their trucks and busses.
The Swift County Corn and Soybean Growers stocked the Prairie 5 Community Action food shelf in Benson with meat and soyfoods to highlight April as National Soyfoods Month. Their $500 donation to the food shelf provided meat and soybean foods to families utilizing the resource.
Kittson County promoted soybeans through their libraries, schools, print ads, arenas and many more organizations.
Marshall County’s 2019 soybean plot tour was held in August with University of Minnesota speakers. The county participated in the Marshall County fair and parade by donating picnic tables, drawing for a peddle tractor and participating in the Beef Cookoff by donating dollars to the Marshall County fire departments. The county board delivered agricultural books to the county schools and plans tohave their county website up soon.
The Pennington-Red Lake Growers continue advertising soybean and corn through delivering popcorn bags and napkins at the schools, arenas, and baseball complexes. The county uses county dollars to promote soybeans and corn through radio and print ad. They also promote soybeans and corn with arena signage in Thief River Falls and Red Lake Falls. They held their soybean plot tour in August.
The Norman County Growers Board is working with UMN Extension to help promote and sponsor the 2020 Ag Day in Ada in conjunction with the Small Grains Update meetings. They continue to support of FFA and donations to local fire departments and promotion through their county fair.
The Roseau/Lake of the Woods Growers Board purchased and delivered agricultural books to all the county schools in area counties in 2019. Along with other northern counties, Roseau/LOW supported the inaugural Red River Ag Celebration in July.