No ordinary Joe: Bird Island farmer reelected MSR&PC chair

The Minnesota Soybean Research & Promotion Council reelected Renville County farmer Joe Serbus as chair Thursday during the organization’s June board meeting.   

“I’m honored to have the confidence of my fellow farmer-leaders,” Serbus said. “It’s been a successful year for the Council. We’ve been able to move many of our checkoff-supported projects forward and I look forward to continue working on behalf of our state’s soybean farmers.”  

Earlier this spring, Serbus and Tom Frisch (District 4), along with Gail Donkers (District 8) and Gene Stoel (District 7), respectively, were all reelected by their farming peers. Winona County farmer Glen Groth, who was appointed to the Council in 2020, was also elected to serve his first full term.  

“It’s a privilege and an honor to serve all soybean farmers from the state of Minnesota,” said Serbus, who farms in Bird Island. “I am a proud advocate of agriculture education, along with all types of education to keep our rural areas strong. We continue to be good stewards of the land as we raise a quality soybean product, and it is important that we continue to share our story.” 

Bird Island farmer Joe Serbus (right) poses alongside his fellow directors after being reelected as MSR&PC chair. Tom Frisch (second to right) of Dumont will again serve as vice chair. Secretary Pat Sullivan (second to left) of Franklin & Treasurer Gail Donkers (left) of Faribault were also reelected by their peers.

Serbus is also a Minnesota crop adjuster and serves on the Bird Island Hawk Creek board of directors and is a committee member of his local church. Serbus grows soybeans, corn and sweetcorn in Renville County and is MSR&PC’s District 5 and 6 representative. He was first elected to MSR&PC in 2016 and became treasurer in 2017 and 2018 before serving as vice chair under Cole Trebesch in 2019 and 2020.  

Frisch, a Traverse County grower, was reelected vice chair and begins his second term as chair.  

“I am honored to be re-elected vice chair of the Council,” said Frisch, who also serves on the Ag Innovation Campus (AIC) board of directors. “I look forward to this next year as we continue to move forward on Council projects like the AIC and Plasma Blue.” 

Donkers returns as treasurer and longtime Director Pat Sullivan will again serve as secretary.  

“By showing up and being the voice of Minnesota’s soybean farmers, I hope to make a difference for not only our farm, but for all the soybean growers in Minnesota,” said Donkers, who farms in Faribault.    

Council directors serve three-year terms, which begin July 1. During the meeting, the Council discussed its strategic plan for the upcoming fiscal year and the latest progress with the Stepping Up campaign and the AIC. During the meeting, the Council voted to continue its financial support of the AIC. Directors also received an update on South Dakota State’s University Institute of Global Ag Sustainability and Leadership, which MSR&PC has supported with checkoff funds.  

“It’s an exciting time at Minnesota Soybean,” Serbus said, “We have a strong team at the Council, a lot of upcoming events and promotions and we’re eager to continue representing our farmers and keep improving farmer profitability.”  

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