MN farmers help USB set course for 2025

Minnesota was well represented at the United Soybean Board’s (USB) first meeting of 2024, as the organization began planning its budgetary priorities for fiscal year 2025 during a gathering of directors and state executives in Louisville, Ky.

“This is the meeting where we have our big ideas and build portfolios,” said Martin County farmer Lawrence Sukalski, who was recently elected to USB’s Executive Committee.

Sukalski also serves as priority work group coordinator for USB’s infrastructure and connectivity committee. On the demand side, Tom Frisch, chair of the Minnesota Soybean Research & Promotion Council, serves as work group lead.

“We’re looking at market intelligence and supply chain innovation as two priority areas,” Frisch said. “In addition, we’re also looking at improving transportation and infrastructure and the ports in Europe and Africa to determine opportunities for us to export out of the East Coast and the Great Lakes, which really affects Minnesota.”

USB, which directs the national soy checkoff program, is also prioritizing exporting more soymeal following the expansion of soybean crush plants coming online across the country.

Sukalski and Frisch are joined on USB by Council Directors Gene Stoel and Patrick O’Leary. Stoel, who serves as vice chair of USB’s communications team and serves on the innovation work group, says the board is continuing to support a checkoff-funded project that’s developing biobased firefighting foam made from soybean meal/flour. He’s also encouraged about USB’s ongoing partnership in Kansas City Barbeque Society (KCBS), which helps provide a platform to build positive influence, reputation and demand for U.S. Soy. The group is expected to make an appearance in St. Peter, Minn., later this spring.

“There are lots of great activities happening at USB,” said Stoel, who farms in Lake Wilson.

The February board meeting also marked Lucas Lentsch’s first meeting since becoming USB CEO. Lentsch, who earned a master’s degree from the University of Minnesota, has already made his impression felt on USB.

“Lucas is a swell guy, well spoken and considerate,” Sukalski said. “He’s going to be very good for U.S. soybean farmers.”

The board meeting jumpstarted a hectic stretch for Minnesota’s delegation on USB. Farmers are in Houston the last week of February to attend Commodity Classic, where USB is hosting a booth on the trade show floor. Upon returning, Frisch, O’Leary and Stoel – along with colleague Ben Storm – are flying to Uzbekistan later in March to continue MSR&PC’s mission to grow soybean meal exports to the emerging market.

“I won’t be home very much until planting starts,” Frisch said. “But it’s definitely an exciting time.”

About USB

United Soybean Board’s 78 volunteer farmer-directors work on behalf of all U.S. soybean farmers to achieve maximum value for their soy checkoff investments. These volunteers invest and leverage checkoff funds in programs and partnerships to drive soybean innovation beyond the bushel and increase preference for U.S. soy. That preference is based on U.S. soybean meal and oil quality and the sustainability of U.S. soybean farmers. As stipulated in the federal Soybean Promotion, Research and Consumer Information Act, the USDA Agricultural Marketing Service has oversight responsibilities for USB and the soy checkoff. For more information on the United Soybean Board, visit unitedsoybean.org. For more information on U.S. Soy, visit USSOY.org.

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