Cool beans: AG EXPO makes for frigid fun

Minnesota’s agriculture community sought refuge from bone-chilling temperature and found themselves in a Soy Wonderland at the 2022 MN AG EXPO in Mankato.

An estimated 1,000 attendees walked the trade show floor and visited with more than 75 exhibitors at the Minnesota’s premier indoor agriculture trade show, which returned after a one-year hiatus. Participants also learned about resiliency, production practices, soybean checkoff investments, and market and policy updates.

“This year’s EXPO exceeded expectations. We had a fantastic time gathering with the people who make our state’s agriculture industry the economic juggernaut that it is,” Minnesota Soybean Growers Association President Mike Skaug said. “As an organization, MSGA was able to raise funds, visit with fellow farmers and our members, and engage with legislators and the Walz administration.”

MSGA and the Minnesota Soybean Research & Promotion Council teamed up to create a Soy Wonderland, complete with the Ice Fish House, which was made with soy-based materials. Minnesota Soybean staff also wore Sketchers Go sneakers that feature Goodyear-developed rubber technology containing a special polymer including sustainable soybean oil. In the booth, MSGA interacted with industry leaders and stressed the importance of membership.

Throughout the Soy Wonderland, both organizations showed how they work together and apart.

MSGA and MSR&PC highlighted value-added soybeans at the 2022 MN AG EXPO.

“It’s wonderful to work with MSGA,” Council Chair Joe Serbus said on Wednesday morning during MSGA’s Annual Meeting. “They represent us so well at the Capitol. They go where we as a checkoff group cannot.”

Prior to Army Veteran’s Jack Zimmerman’s closing keynote at the “Food for Thought” luncheon, MSGA raffled off the winner of the Ice Fish House, which raised nearly $50,000 toward MSGA’s advocacy mission. Travis Roberts of Wells was the lucky winner.

‘A clear vision’

On Wednesday, MSGA farmer leaders met with Gov. Tim Walz following the governor’s address on the trade show floor, and outlined its 2022 policy priorities. During his 10-minute speech, the governor highlighted the Minnesota Ag Water Quality Certification Program, an initiative that MSGA has long supported. Skaug enrolled in the program several years ago.

“We have the richest, most productive soil in the world,” said Walz, who’s running for reelection this November against a to-be-determined Republican opponent. “This program works on every level.”

Wednesday night, MSGA and MSR&PC farmer-leaders let their hair down after a long day by relaxing and conversing at MSGA’s Carnival fundraiser. MSGA supporters played games and bid on silent and live auctions. All proceeds from both the Carnival and MN AG EXPO benefit MSGA’s fight for farm-friendly legislation in St. Paul and Washington, D.C.

Thursday’s agenda featured a morning market update from farm management expert Kent Thiesse, who projected an optimistic economic outlook for the year ahead.

“It’s unbelievable how strong prices are,” Thiesse said.

MN AG EXPO will return in 2023.

“This year’s EXPO was a successful event by any measure,” MSGA Executive Director Joe Smentek. “Our board has a clear vision for the year ahead, we highlighted our mission alongside the Council and we all had a chance to reunite with our state’s ag community.”

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