Fairmont farmer earns USB reappointment

Martin County farmer Lawrence Sukalski has been reappointed to the United Soybean Board (USB) by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. USB added four new farmer-leaders to serve as directors. Along with Sukalski, 14 farmer-leaders were reappointed. These USB Directors from 18 states will be sworn in for service during the USB December meeting in St. Charles, Mo.  

“Each of these farmer-leaders will have a significant impact on the soy checkoff’s ability to build demand, enhance reputation and increase the resilience of our U.S. soybean crop,” said Meagan Kaiser, USB Chair and farmer from Missouri. “I’m proud of our farmer-led board that volunteers their time to look ahead and think big picture to ensure U.S. Soy remains a leader in forging partnerships to deliver sustainable solutions to every life, every day.”   

Sukalski, who began farming in 1977, and his wife, Diane, are fifth generation farmers in Martin County where they grow corn and soybeans with the help of Lawrence’s brother, Harlan. Also helping out on the farm are their children Jacob, Andrew, Kristina, Michael and Suzy. Sukalski has represented Minnesota on USB for six years and is a member of USB’s value alignment committee. He said the organization, which directs the national soybean checkoff, is well-positioned to thrive and improve the farm economy in the years ahead.

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The harvest is a family affair for USB Director Lawrence Sukalski (center) and (from left) his brother, Harlan, and children Andrew, Kristina, Michael, and son-in-law, Colin O’Brien. The Sukalskis recently completed their 2023 harvest.

“The checkoff is the best thing we have going for us as farmers,” Sukalski said. “We’re seeing $12.34 in return value for every checkoff dollar invested. I’m so proud of the checkoff and what it’s accomplished.”

Sukalski also promotes biodiesel in his role on the Clean Fuels Alliance America board and is excited about the future of the industry.  

“We’re making strides on biodiesel, renewable diesel and sustainable aviation fuel, and I think we’re only going to see more movement,” he said. “It’s definitely made a difference in the market. Sometimes, we’re getting more out of the bushel with the 20% of the oil than we are with 80% of the meal. There’s a lot of good, positive stuff happening.”  

The soy checkoff provides value to farmers through investments that build preference for U.S. soybeans across the country and throughout the world. Authorized by the Soybean Promotion, Research and Consumer Information Act, the checkoff is composed of 77 members representing 29 states, in addition to the Eastern and Western regions. The number of seats on the board and farmer representation is based on bushels produced in each of the production regions. Members must be soybean farmers nominated by a Qualified State Soybean Board such as the Minnesota Soybean Research & Promotion Council (MSR&PC). 

“Our board of directors grow and raise more than 30 different commodities, but U.S. Soy is the common denominator that brings us all together,” said Steve Reinhard, USB vice chair and Ohio farmer. “We have an impressive roster of new and returning board members, and collectively we can make meaningful inroads that bring value to our half-million U.S. soybean farmers’ bottom line.” 

Sukalski is joined on USB by fellow Minnesota farmers Tom Frisch (who chairs MSR&PC), Patrick O’Leary and Gene Stoel, respectively.  

“They’re a good group,” Sukalski said. “We’ve got people who will speak up for Minnesota, so there’s a lot of good, positive stuff happening. The people that we work with are the cream of the crop and they’re very dedicated, both in Minnesota and the national level. They’re serious about the farmers’ checkoff money. It’s not there to get wasted.” 

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