Jeremy Geske

Around the Counties: Water Quality, Scholarships and Biofuels Take Stage at Annual Meetings

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.

Scott/Le Sueur

With record March temperatures and planting season approaching, the Scott/Le Sueur Corn and Soybean Growers gathered March 10 to host their annual meeting at The Ridges at Sand Creek in Jordan, Minn.

Jeremy Geske, Watershed Education Specialist, was the guest speaker who addressed environmental pressures, including nitrogen application and Gov. Dayton’s buffer strip proposal. Because of the potential impact on farmers, Geske provided insight on the new proposal.

“The proposal states that every waterway needs a 50-foot buffer,” Geske said. “This number is arbitrary. It is not a “one size fits all” situation and that needs to be taken into account.”

Geske’s presentation was followed by a panel of agriculture industry experts. The panel addressed different sectors of agriculture, including ag lending, farm management, seed sales, and cooperatives, and explained how each sector is ever-changing.

“Uncertainty is the biggest challenge in agriculture today,” said panelist Lowell Tangen, Montgomery River Country Cooperative Manager. “You always have to be ready to react in this industry.”

Freeborn

The Freeborn County Corn and Soybean Growers Association continued their giving ways, awarding three scholarships at their annual banquet Friday, March 6 at Wedgewood Cove in Albert Lea, Minn.

Freeborn County Corn and Soybean GrowersThe board awarded two Agriculture Future of America scholarships. The AFA scholarships were awarded to Morgan Grunzke of Alden, Minn., and Toni Chicos, also of Alden. Grunzke and Chicos were awarded a $3,200 academic scholarship and sponsorship to the AFA Leaders Conference. The board also awarded a $1,000 scholarship to Katelyn Smith of Alden.

Professional speech coach David Okerlund spoke to Freeborn County Corn and Soybean members about the importance of not getting stuck in a rut of repetition, or as he called it, “learning to dance.” Okerlund told the audience that in order to grow as farmers, we have to stop assuming we know everything there is to know and start opening ourselves to new ideas.

Okerlund’s presentation was made possible by the Freeborn County Corn and Soybean Growers Association and their checkoffs.

Dakota/Rice

The Dakota/Rice County Corn and Soybean Growers held its annual meeting March 2 at Jesse James Lane in Northfield, Minn. Kelly Marczak, director of American Lung Association of Minnesota and Josh Selbrade, Petroleum Manager for Community Coop Oil Association, were the guest speakers who presented on alternative fuels.

Marczak and Selbrade presented to 60 attendees on the importance of biodiesel and its use in Minnesota.

“It is important to remind consumers why biofuels, ethanol, and biodiesel are necessary,” Marczak said. “They are better for the environment and reduce carbon dioxide emissions.”

Marczak also reminded the audience to support Minnesota fueling sites that promote ethanol and biodiesel.

Keith Schrader, Minnesota Soybean Research & Promotion Council Vice Chairman, also presented on the Minnesota Soybean organization and the difference between MSR&PC and the Minnesota Soybean Growers Association.