Tom Slunecka has enjoyed quite a ride with Minnesota Soybean. And it’s been worth the journey.
“It seems like just yesterday I was at my very first MSR&PC board meeting,” Slunecka said in an interview with Soybean Business. “Over that time, the trust and relationships between myself, grower-leaders and our staff has grown immensely.”
In August 2022, Slunecka celebrates a decade with the Minnesota Soybean Research & Promotion Council. Since joining the organization in 2012, Slunecka has helped implement the Council’s strategic plans and oversaw the development of a range of dynamic checkoff-funded projects, such as Plasma Blue, the Ag Innovation Campus, TruSoya and more. Slunecka also served as executive director of the Minnesota Soybean Growers Association from 2012-2018.
“Tom is so very easy to work with,” said Council Chair Joe Serbus, who has worked with Slunecka since 2016. “He’s a visionary, very careful with his words and his choices. I greatly appreciate working with him and we congratulate him on a decade of serving Minnesota soybean farmers. That’s quite an accomplishment and a testament to his leadership acumen.”
Along with serving as CEO of the Council, Slunecka is CEO of Ag Management Solutions, which oversees the daily operations of both MSR&PC and MSGA, among other organizations. Formed in 2017, AMS has cultivated a reputation in the agriculture industry as a nimble, full-service organization that helps its clients maintain an edge and build their brands.
“I’m very proud of what AMS is doing for Minnesota and national agriculture. Growing and defending agriculture continues to get more difficult, and more outside factors are forcing the ag associations that represent them to be more technical and more efficient with the same resources,” he said. “Good associations are looking for those type of efficiencies in order to accomplish the bigger objectives that their members need. AMS has provided those efficiencies.”
Before joining Minnesota Soybean, Slunecka held several leadership positions in the biofuels and agriculture sectors. Throughout his career, he has launched several products, services and companies, many of which are still relevant today. His previous experience includes serving as executive director of the Ethanol Promotion & Information Council, Omaha, Neb., and vice president of marketing for the National Corn Growers Association. In addition, Slunecka worked with the Urban Air Initiative and Phibro Animal Health where he was vice president of marketing for PhibroChem, a specialty supply company focused on ethanol and animal agriculture in New Jersey. Starting with New Jersey-based American Cyanamid, Slunecka has successfully blended the corporate urgency of return on investment with the day-to-day needs of members and policy makers for the industry.
Slunecka is a native of South Dakota and holds a Bachelor of Science degree in agriculture business from South Dakota State University. Tom and his wife, Robyn, have three sons, Wyatt, William and Jack.
“It’s always about family,” he said. “As a farm kid, my grounding mechanism is the family farm, and I retreat back to that as often as I can to reground myself.”
Always looking forward, Slunecka remains optimistic about the direction the Council is heading.
“2023 is going to be another huge year for MSR&PC projects,” he said. “To paraphrase Wayne Gretzky, we’re focused on where the soybean checkoff is going, not where it’s been.”