MN Soybean Farmers Have Say in Who Oversees Checkoff Investments

To be a volunteer, one simply needs to have the drive to be committed to a service or cause bigger than their own. Minnesota Soybean Research & Promotion Council (MSR&PC) directors fit that bill, as the men and women of the Council oversee the wise investment of Minnesota soybean farmers’ checkoff money.

With that in mind, MSR&PC Vice Chairman Craig Bangasser, who also serves as election chairman, reminds soybean farmers in districts with open seats to vote in the commodity council elections held each year by the Minnesota Department of Agriculture.

“Being a volunteer for anything takes time away from the farm,” Bangasser says. “That time away can be tough to replace, and we fully understand not everyone has the time to be an MSR&PC director. But everyone should have the time to vote for the person they want to represent their district when it comes to overseeing the investment of soybean checkoff dollars.”

Bangasser says the process is pretty simple, with MDA mailing out ballots to those who have voted in the past or those who requested a ballot for 2016.

“Make it a priority,” he says. “When you see that ballot come in the mail, instead of tossing it into the deal-with-it later pile, just take a few minutes to fill it out and get it back in the mail. Like any election process, voter turnout is very important, and this is one way to have a say in how soybean checkoff money will be used to benefit Minnesota soybean farmers.”

MDA will mail out ballots beginning March 22. The last day for ballots to be postmarked is April 7.

Here is a brief look at the 2016 candidates:

District 4

Paul Dahlseng, Starbuck, Minn., Pope County

Paul grows corn and soybeans and raises beef cattle. He is a board member and plot chairman for the Pope County Corn & Soybean Growers Association and serves on his church council.

On the Council, Paul says:

“It would be an honor to serve soybean farmers.  I feel we need to wisely use the checkoff dollars we receive for research, new uses, market development, etc. I feel we also need to educate the public about the stewardship practices and the safety of the products we produce.”

Kurt Krueger, Rothsay, Minn., Wilkin County

Kurt grows corn and soybeans. He is a Minnesota Soybean Growers Association board member, serves on the Clay-Wilkin Corn & Soybean Growers Association, and is a member of MSGA, Minnesota Corn Growers Association, Minnesota Association of Wheat Growers and the Minnesota Barley Growers Association.

On the Council, Kurt says:

“I am interested in representing Minnesota soybean farmers by assisting in the decision process as to the most beneficial manner in which to budget and invest their checkoff dollars. I am familiar with the structure of the Research & Promotion Council and have served on its committees and action teams in the past via the Minnesota Soybean Growers Association. I am confident that, in spite of the difficult financial trend in agriculture, checkoff revenue can be allocated in an efficient and effective way for the betterment of the soybean industry.”

District 5

Joe Serbus, Bird Island, Minn., Renville County

Joe grows soybeans, corn and sweetcorn. He is active as a field reporter for Farm Service Agency, is a Minnesota crop adjuster, is a past township treasurer, past Renville County Corn & Soybean chair and vice chair, and a former Cedar Mountain School board member and former chair.

On the Council, Joe says:

“I want to use one tool such as the soybean growers organization to try to get the message out that we all have a quality product at our fingertips that we can rely on for food and personal needs.”

District 7

Gene Stoel, Lake Wilson, Minn., Murray County

Gene grows corn, soybean and hay and raises cattle. He is a director for MSR&PC and a member of the Minnesota Soybean Growers Association and the Minnesota Corn Growers Association.

On the Council, Gene says:

 “Directing funds collected by the checkoff is very important to the profitability of Minnesota soybean farmers. I will try to balance the money spent between research, education and promotion to bring the most value to my fellow farmers.”

District 8

Keith Schrader, Nerstrand, Minn., Rice County

Keith grows corn and soybeans. He is the current chairman of MSR&PC and is a member of the Minnesota Soybean Growers Association, the Minnesota Corn Growers Association, Minnesota Farmers Union, Minnesota Farm Bureau and is a board member for Midwest Shippers Association.

On the Council, Keith says:

 “Profitability for the Minnesota soybean farmer is the number one goal for me to be a board member for MSR&PC. Ways of achieving this goal are in the utilization of new products made from soybeans and soy oil; increasing demand for Minnesota soybeans both domestically and internationally; working to ensure better increases in both logistics and transportation efficiencies for rail, roads and water; supporting research programs to help both agronomic decisions and creating new products and being able to communicate non-political issues facing Minnesota soybean farmers to both the farm and non-farm public.”

District 9

Rob Hanks, LeRoy, Minn., Fillmore County

Rob grows corn, soybeans and alfalfa and raises hogs and beef cow/calves. He is a director for MSR&PC, and is a member of the Minnesota Soybean Growers Association, Minnesota Corn Growers Association, Minnesota Pork Producers and serves on the Mower County Corn & Soybean Growers Association as well as the Bloomfield Mutual Insurance Board.

On the Council, Rob says:

 “I want to continue to have an impact on improving the profitability of Minnesota Soybean Farmers through my experience on the research/supply committee and new uses committee, including biodiesel.”