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Around the Counties: MSGA, USB, ASA Updates, Strip Til Practices and More

The Minnesota Soybean Growers Association has 42 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.

Past USB Chairman Jim Call Highlights Checkoff Initiatives

Soybean farmers in Pope County received an update Friday on how their soybean checkoff is at work for them. Former United Soybean Board (USB) Chairman Jim Call, a soybean farmer from Madison, Minn., and Minnesota Research & Promotion Council Director, shared how the checkoff funds are being leveraged by USB to help make U.S. soybean farmers more profitable during the Pope County Corn & Soybean Growers Annual Meeting.

Call specifically discussed the work that USB is doing to develop new soybean varieties that meet the needs of customers both in the U.S. and abroad so that farmers will continue to have a strong soybean market. He also talked about what USB is doing for animal agriculture, transportation and biodiesel.

Some attendees had questions relating to the protein and oil content of soybeans, which Call reassured them is a key focus of soybean variety research.

At the meeting, the group announced a donation of $500 to the Minnesota Soybean Growers Association. There were more than 80 people in attendance at the Pope County meeting, held at the Minnewaska House near Glenwood.


Minnesota Soybean Research & Promotion Council Director Bill Zurn gave an update on biodiesel at the Becker/Mahnomen Corn & Soybean Growers Annual meeting March 24 in Callaway, Minn.

Roughly 60 people turned out for the annual meeting, which also featured Dr. Phil Glogoza of the University of Minnesota and Al Kluis of Kluis Commodities in Wayzatta, Minn. Zurn pointed out the direct benefits of farmers using their own product, telling attendees that the addition of biodiesel adds .73 cents value to every bushel of soybeans sold.

Glogoza discussed Soybean Cyst Nematode disease with the growers in attendance while Kluis gave a market update and overview.

Cottonwood County Annual Meeting

Gene Carstens spoke about strip till methods to attendees at the Cottonwood County Corn and Soybean Growers annual meeting on Wednesday, March 25.

Carstens, from Minden, Neb., owns two companies with his brother, First Ag. Inc., a fertilizer business, and Twin Diamond Ind., a strip till manufacturing company.

Carstens shared many examples of strip till methods that farmers are using around the Midwest, specifically some new tilling methods in Minnesota that have shown to be beneficial. Carstens also spoke about fertility programs and what will increase the bottom line for producers.


As the newest county soybean organization, Winona County Soybean Growers Association joined the county corn growers and farm bureau to sponsor the 4th annual Promoting Modern Agriculture (PMA) event. The take-home message: take one hour a week to sLogger Bruce Vincenthare what you do on your farm.

Bruce Vincent, a Montana-based logger and motivational speaker, was a hit as more than 400 people attended the event to support modern agriculture and listen to his message.

“We are at a collision of visions,” said Vincent in regards to modern agriculture. “Urban areas don’t understand what we do and why we do it. If you spend an hour a week sharing your story, we can potentially bridge that gap.”

PMA also awards seven, $1,000 scholarships to students expressing an interest in the agricultural field, gives agriculture focused books to area schools and sponsors farm visits for classrooms.

Murray County

The warm temperatures of late March made for a standing room only when the Murray County Corn and Soybean Growers held their annual meeting on March 26 at the Royal Supper Club in Slayton.  With nearly 150 members and sponsors in attendance, fifth generation cattle rancher, author and ag advocate Amanda Radke encouraged those listening to ‘tell your story – because others are telling theirs.’  Radke shared staggering information about the inaccurate information found on the internet about the ag industry and what we can do about it. Nearly 100 corn and soybean members and growers, along with sponsors, were in attendance.

Blue Earth County

 It was the words of Paul Harvey and Libby, Montana logger Bruce Vincent that kept the audience in their seats at the March 30 annual meeting of the Blue Earth County Corn and Soybean Growers.  Harvey, the former conservative radio broadcaster for ABC radio,  was well known for his “So God Made a Farmer’  address to the 1978 FFA convention.  Harvey’s powerful words were shared by Nate Meixell, a member of the LCWM FFA. Vincent, a third generation logger is nationally recognized as a passionate advocate for agriculture and has developed the popular “Provider Pal’s program for elementary schools throughout the nation. Vincent explained ‘we’re on a collision of visions’ and much like Amanda Radke, encouraged the audience to ‘start telling your story.’  Nearly 100 local corn and soybean members,  growers and sponsors attended the annual meeting.

Nobles County

More than 160 peopleNobles County Bill Gordo showed up to the Nobles County Corn and Soybean Growers annual meeting March 31.

Bill Gordon, ASA Director and MSGA Director, gave an update on Minnesota Soybean. Gordon talked about some things he has been involved at the state and national level on behalf of the Minnesota Soybean Growers Association and its members, as well as spoke to the differences between the MSGA and the Minnesota Soybean Research and Promotion Council.

To round off the evening, Speaker Al Batt enlightened both members and guests with his Minnesota and rural humor.