Minnesota Soybean promotes checkoff wins in return to Prairie Grains Conference

Farmer-leaders from across the state traveled to Grand Forks, N.D., to engage with the regional farming community and learn the latest in soybean, wheat and barley research at the 2022 Prairie Grains Conference.

Joe Serbus, chair of the Minnesota Soybean Research & Promotion Council (MSR&PC), traveled nearly five hours from his farm in Renville County to visit with his fellow farmers from the northern region. Hundreds of attendees joined Serbus in braving sub-zero temps to connect and take a deeper look at cutting-edge, checkoff-funded research.

Serbus said he was determined to make the trek north.

“I felt it was important to be here and represent the state board and visit with our northern growers. Grower-to-grower interaction is so important,” said Serbus, who was joined by Council Directors Paul Freeman and Kris Folland. “I’ve greatly enjoyed talking with those in our industry about our checkoff successes over the past year and how that improves profitability throughout the entire state of Minnesota.”

On Wednesday, Minnesota Soybean held its annual county association update with norther-based board members and industry partners. Mike Skaug, who farms in Beltrami, delivered the Minnesota Soybean Growers Association update in place of President Bob Worth, who was attending an American Soybean Association meeting in Missouri. Skaug also briefed farmers on the building progress of the Ag Innovation Campus, which begins production next year. MSGA lobbyist Cory Bennett also gave an update on the legislative forecast for 2023. On the Council side, Serbus thanked county board leaders for participating in the Stepping Up campaign, which counties will have the opportunity to continue in 2023.

Research is a key component of the Prairie Grains Conference. The Minnesota Wheat Research & Promotion Council held its annual On-Farm Research Network Summit, a program that MSR&PC co-sponsors. Minnesota Wheat Vice President of Research Melissa Carlson walked a packed room through a number of projects, including:

  • Copper at Tillering on Wheat
  • Elevate P&K Applications in Wheat and Soybeans
  • Timing Termination When Greenseeding Soybeans into Cereal Rye
  • Soybean and Dry Bean Trials From the Manitoba Pulse and Soybean Growers On-Farm Network

Despite a wet spring in the Red River Valley, many producers and researchers reported a better-than-expected harvest.

MSGA Director Mike Skaug (right) visits with Northern Crops Institute Director Mark Jirik at Minnesota Soybean’s booth during the 2022 Prairie Grains Conference in Grand Forks, N.D.

On the conference’s second day, MSR&PC Director of Research David Kee hosted the annual Soybean Research Reporting Session. Four checkoff-supported researchers gave updates on their 2022 projects, including research related to wheat and soybean crop rotation; pest and weed management; and white mold resistance.

“This conference is a chance for us to look back on the past year in agronomic issues and speak with farmers about the challenges and concerns,” Kee said.

Luminaries from across Minnesota and North Dakota agriculture appeared at Prairie Grains Conference, including Agriculture Commissioner Thom Petersen. Mark Jirik of the Northern Crops Institute was a keynote speaker, addressing attendees with his vision for the next five years in agriculture.

“There are a lot of opportunities in agriculture and it’s being driven by consumers,” he said. “As an ag industry, we need to keep a close eye on these changes.”

The Council is a platinum-level sponsor of the Prairie Grains Conference, which has been held for nearly 50 years.

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