The Minnesota Soybean Research & Promotion Council (MSR&PC) is pleased to announce the addition of a pair of incoming directors in 2019. Gail Donkers, a soybean grower from Faribault, was elected to serve as the Council’s District 8 representative. Donkers will replace longtime MSR&PC director and former chair Keith Schrader, who is retiring after nine fruitful years on the Council.
“Advocating for agriculture has always been a high priority in my life,” Donkers recently told Soybean Business during the election process. “By showing up and being the voice of Minnesota’s soybean farmers, I hope to make a difference for our farm, as well as my neighbor’s.”
Donkers has been active in numerous organizations, including 4-H, Minnesota Agriculture Rural Leadership, Minnesota Farmers Union and the Minnesota Lamb & Wool Producers. Donkers says she became interested in overseeing checkoff funds in 2015 while attending a National Biodiesel Conference as part of MSR&PC’s See For Yourself mission.
“I was completely blown away by the Conference and the education I received, and knew that in the future I wanted to be a part of the Council,” she says. “The SFY program showed me firsthand the value of MSR&PC to me as a soybean producer, and that the Council is an organization that I would like to dedicate time to and share my life experiences with.”
Tom Frisch, a Dumont farmer, was also elected to replace Paul Dahlseng as the Council’s District 4 representative.
“I see serving on the Council as another way for me to help promote an understanding of the industry that has provided so much for me and my family,” Frisch says. “I desire to assist on the Council with my fellow producers through these difficult economic times in agriculture.”
Frisch is a fourth generation farmer and works part-time selling seed to area producers for a local cooperative. He’s also been a volunteer firefighter for 18 years. He says he started considering running for the Council after participating in a 2014 See For Yourself mission to Japan and the Philippines.
“The (See For Yourself) tour enabled me a deeper understanding of the international markets and uses for the soybeans we produce,” Frisch says. “International trade is essential to the sustainability of our farming operation.”
Donkers and Frisch’s three year terms on the Council begin July 1.
Reelected to the board were Joe Serbus (District 5 & 6), Gene Stoel (District 7) and Rob Hanks (District 9).
The Minnesota Department of Agriculture administers the election and more than 3,800 Minnesota farmers received ballots.
MSR&PC is the elected board of soybean producers from Minnesota who direct investments of the state’s checkoff dollars in programs designed to increase profitability to the nearly 28,000 soybean farmers in the state.
“Once again, we have a strong roster of farmers on the Council helping to oversee checkoff dollars. They do an extraordinary job representing the diversity of Minnesota soybean farmers,” says MSR&PC Director Cole Trebesch (District 8), chair of the election committee. “We are eager to welcome Tom and Gail to the Council, and we salute Keith Schrader for nearly a decade of service to MSR&PC as both a director and chair. He won’t be easily replaced.”