Keith Schrader built his farm from the ground up. He started his Nerstrand, Minn., operation in 1976, and has farmed corn and soybeans full time for the last 40 years. Schrader, a District 8 representative currently serving his second term as the Minnesota Soybean Research and Promotion Council (MSR&PC) chairman, also has a deep investment in his land and a passion for developing new markets for Minnesota soybeans.
“I wanted to give something back to the industry by being involved in the state’s soybean checkoff programs,” Schrader says. “Anything I can do on a voluntary basis to make the future better for Minnesota is something I have a passion for.”
With his dedication to the Council comes his drive in promoting how the Minnesota soybean checkoff invests checkoff dollars into international trade. Through growing the need for Minnesota soybeans, MSR&PC is able to help farmers continue to evolve their work on their operations.
Investing in international trade is one example of how Minnesota’s soybean checkoff is extending their reach and expanding the need for Minnesota soybeans. In March 2016, Schrader joined a group of farmer leaders on the See For Yourself mission to Vietnam. The state checkoff has been focusing on Vietnam as an area of growth for soybeans, and as part of that growth has sent farmers to the country to learn how Minnesota soybeans are being used overseas.
“We want our farmers’ input on how the board spends checkoff dollars,” Schrader says. “By focusing in on one country, we’ve been able to build relationships with customers and potential customers, while also being able to show our farmers firsthand how their checkoff dollars are being invested.”