Minnesota’s 25,000 soybean farmers are always at top of mind for Drew Parsley, Minnesota Soybean Research & Promotion Council (MSR&PC) Districts 1, 2 and 3 representative. In order to best represent the voices of soybean farmers in the state, Parsley and the other leaders of MSR&PC listen to the needs of their peers to make checkoff investment decisions. The question Why do we grow? drives him to advocate for his fellow soybean farmers and their products.
“I love to have a reason to grow my crops,” Parsley says. “There’s always someone at the other end who needs to connect and relate our businesses together. That demand is what initially drove me to seek opportunity within MSR&PC.”
Parsley has been a member of the MSR&PC board for 10 years. In his current role as a district representative, he is primarily involved with international marketing and vertical integration. Parsley’s position involves advocating for the state’s soybean farmers; unlocking the demand potential for their crops in both domestic and international markets.
“I talk to the folks who are purchasing the products to better understand how farmers can meet their wants and needs,” he explains. “I then take that information and share it wherever possible with other soybean farmers and with fellow decision makers at MSR&PC.”
Soybeans are the No. 1 exported crop in Minnesota; more than half of the state’s annual soybean crop is exported each year. Parsley has traveled numerous times to Southeast Asia, an emerging market for Minnesota soybeans, to build relationships with customers and see firsthand the global demand for high-quality soybeans. With checkoff support, he has the ability to put his passion for promoting soybeans to work.
“We can’t produce efficiently, effectively and profitably without understanding why someone wants our product,” Parsley says. “The checkoff helps us see that want, and invests in its growth.”
Parsley is fueled by discovering new markets and new uses for Minnesota soybeans, which translates to several more reasons to grow soybeans in Minnesota. Not only does he enjoy learning about all the ways the checkoff can help grow the market for soybeans, but sharing that knowledge and working on behalf of the farmers in Minnesota allow him to thrive within MSR&PC.
“At the end of the day, the checkoff is the voice for growers and farmers,” concludes Parsley. “We need to invest checkoff dollars in order to promote our product domestically and internationally. It makes our industry sustainable, and lets us build the framework for future generations.”