Grower-Researcher Retreat spurs conversation

The third annual Grower-Researcher retreat, sponsored by the Minnesota Soybean Research & Promotion Council (MSR&PC), was held this week at Cragun’s on Gull Lake.

“This has become a marquee event for growers, researchers, and industry leaders alike,” says MSR&PC Director Kris Folland, who also chairs the organization’s production action team. “It’s about finding new, big ideas and sparking conversations about increasing the productivity and profitability of soybean growers throughout Minnesota.”

Twenty three Minnesota soybean farmers, along with 39 researchers and industry leaders, attended the two-day retreat. The farmers spent about 30 minutes at six tables, discussing a variety of topics: general agronomy, soil fertility, plant pathology, insect and weed management, soil hydrology and soybean utilization.

“It’s a great event for us,”  says MSR&PC Chair Patrick O’Leary. “This gives us a chance to share with researchers what we’re seeing in the field, and what our priorities are.”

Continuing to foster communication between growers and researchers was a focal point of the retreat.

“We need to keep having more contact with growers, talking to them and hearing their concerns and ideas,” says University of Minnesota Extension Agronomist Seth Naeve. “I think there was some really good dialogue for both the growers and researchers to take home with them.”

Farmers also met with a group of five University of Minnesota graduate students, whose positions are partially funded by checkoff research.

“I always enjoy meeting with these graduate students and hope we can continue to include them in these meetings,” says MSR&PC Director Gene Stoel. “We need to support the next generation of agriculture professionals.”

The morning after the session, Becky Kenow, a biologist with Land O’ Lakes, delivered a presentation on the company’s sustainability program.

“From the feedback we received, this was another successful, well-rounded retreat that covered a variety of topics,” says Minnesota Soybean Director of Research David Kee, who helped curate the event. “We look forward to keeping the conversation going throughout the upcoming year.”

Click here to listen to KASM Radio’s on-site interviews with Folland, O’Leary and MSR&PC Vice Chair Cole Trebesch.

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