The Minnesota Soybean Research & Promotion Council met April 2 in Mankato, and as always, soybean checkoff investments were on the Council members’ minds.
The Council approved several projects across the priority areas for the Council — research, market development, new uses, education, marketing communications.
The Council also held its United Soybean Board director elections for Jim Call’s position, which is expiring. One of the goals the Council sets is to determine a representative and an alternate director to submit to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), which through its process, will determine the USB director from Minnesota to fill Call’s position.
“We elected Gene Stoel as our representative,” said MSR&PC Chairman Paul Simonsen. “And we selected Rochelle Krusemark as an alternate. It’ll be a while now before we hear back from USDA on who has been appointed, but we felt really good with our selections and know Minnesota will be well represented.
MSR&PC also heard and delivered reports on action teams, which is a system of subcommittees that concentrate on the priority areas for the Council.
“On behalf of Minnesota soybean farmers, we are working diligently to invest their money in the best way possible,” Simonsen said. “Over the course of our last few meetings, we’ve invested dollars with direction research, market development, new uses, education and marketing communication projects. All of these are based on our strategic plan and we feel comfortable with the direction we are heading.”
Chief Executive Officer Tom Slunecka presented the board with a presentation about Minnesota Soybean’s strategic plan, which was developed during several meetings throughout 2014 and implemented after board approval in August of 2014.
“The farmers have set the direction for our organization with the strategic plan, and our staff has been working diligently to execute on that plan,” Slunecka told the Council. “I think what’s exciting about the plan and the way it is constructed is that the action teams work across all areas of the strategic plan. We’re starting to get some synergy with this.”
Some of the highlights from that work:
- Six AURI projects are under way focusing on such things as plastics, glycerin use and food proteins
- Working with certification programs to prove sustainability
- Increased environmental groups’ acceptance of B10 and biodiesel in general
- Funding for a number of genomic improvement projects at the U of M
- Helped to fund U of M soybean breeder position
- Several educational meetings, including topics such as weed resistance and farm transition
- Introduction of first webinar series, which covered the ins-and-outs of the 2014 Farm Bill
- Introduction of new website and new newsletter format (Minneline), which helps position Minnesota Soybean as the definitive source for soybean information and news
- Implementation of social media campaign, including Adorkable Felfie campaign, to make connection with next generation of farmers
While this list doesn’t cover everything, Slunecka said it is important to understand that progress has been made, and that Minnesota Soybean staff continues to find new, innovative ways to accomplish the goals of the strategic plan that the farmer producers set.