A farmer’s passion is rooted in helping others. Serving as the District 1, 2 and 3 representative for the Minnesota Soybean Research & Promotion Council (MSR&PC), Kris Folland’s main goal is finding solutions for farmers’ needs. Folland currently farms with his family in Kittson County, adding to his 25 years of farming experience. Folland, as a farmer and council member, values the checkoff’s all-encompassing work with soybeans.
The checkoff views investing in all aspects of soybeans as important. Soybean production directly affects the environment, and MSR&PC works with farmers to help them realize their local and global impact. The checkoff also invests in various areas of research including management practices, disease and insect control, and yield.
“Checkoff-funded research has changed the soybean industry in Minnesota,” says Folland, who also chairs Minnesota Soybean’s production action team. “I’ve watched soybeans expand throughout Minnesota, Canada and the Midwest. This shows how checkoff dollars have advanced breeding, production and agronomic practices to fit our area.”
Soybeans can be used in a variety of ways, from animal feed to biodiesel. Biodiesel is the by-product of soybean meal production that used to go to waste. Utilizing soybean oil and repurposing it for biodiesel adds value to farmers’ soybeans. Currently, biodiesel adds about 5,400 jobs to Minnesota and has a $1.7 billion economic impact. Starting in 2018, Minnesota is moving to a 20 percent biodiesel blend (B20) mandate, requiring Minnesota diesel fuels to contain at least 20 percent biodiesel in the summer months. Biodiesel is a cleaner-burning fuel, and with the move to B20, the amount of emissions removed will be equivalent to taking 200,000 cars off the road.
“Clean air is something everyone can agree on,” Folland says. “We have a product that has a great economic impact, benefits farmers and helps air quality. Those numbers will only improve with B20 in 2018.”
MSR&PC board invests checkoff dollars in finding uses for soybeans in Minnesota, but also worldwide. The checkoff ensures that Minnesota soybeans stay competitive in global markets, with half of Minnesota’s soybeans exported out of the United States. High-quality soybeans, positive relationships with international buyers and exporters, along with the ability to meet customer needs help keep Minnesota, as a soybean producer, relevant worldwide.
During his time working with MSR&PC, Folland has witnessed the checkoff being a valuable asset to Minnesota soybean farmers.
“The checkoff is a small investment for farmers that yields big returns,” Folland concludes. “It adds value to farmers’ crops, which, in turn, adds to their bottom line. We truly put the farmer first with everything we do.”