Q&A with MN Soybean’s marketing communications intern

Minnesota Soybean has hired a summer intern to work within the marketing and communications department. This intern will assist with various forms of marketing and communications, as well as help with local and state events. This year’s intern is Kaelyn Platz.

Learn more about Kaelyn as we ask her some questions. 

To start. Introduce yourself.

Hi everyone! My name is Kaelyn Platz. I grew up on a farm near Comfrey, Minn. I am currently majoring in Agriculture Communications with minors in Marketing and Ag Business at South Dakota State University in Brookings, SD. 

Are you involved in any organizations?

I am Vice President of the Ceres Women’s Fraternity at SDSU. Ceres is a Greek organization that places an emphasis on women in agriculture, which has better enabled my development as a leader. 

I am also a part of Little International, or Little I. Little I allows students to compete in judging contests, showmanship competitions and other challenges.

Not only am I busy on campus, this last year I became a mentor with the Brookings County Youth Mentor Program.

What made you want to continue in agriculture?

I want to work in agriculture because of the impact the industry has had on my family.

Ever since I was little, my family has owned and operated a 10-acre fruit and vegetable garden. Every year, we would have an excessive amount of plants to sell at the farmer’s market and local grocery stores. To give you an idea, we would plant 25,000 onions, 300 pepper plants, 500 muskmelon plants and many other fruits and vegetables. Seeing the positive impact the agriculture industry has had on my family makes me want to continue in this industry. 

What are you hoping to get from your summer internship?

I am hoping this internship will better my knowledge of the soybean industry and get hands on experience working directly in the marketing and communications department. Ultimately, I want to continue learning within my area of study. 

Now for the fun questions…

Favorite food: Shrimp Alfredo

Favorite color: Pink

Favorite animal: Giraffe

If you were to describe yourself in three words, what would they be?

Honest. Optimistic. Passionate.

If you were to get on a plane tomorrow, where would you go and why?

Europe. I want to learn more about how they farm, as well as visit all the historic places.

What is one fun fact about you?

I love to travel! Next summer, I will be traveling to New Zealand to learn more about their agriculture industry.


USDA: Minnesota’s chemical use on soybeans lower than other states

Minnesota has a lower input of fertilizer and pesticide use than other top soybean-producing states, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) 2017 Agricultural Use Survey of soybean producers. The survey gathered data about fertilizer and pesticide use and pest management practices in growing soybeans. 

“This report clearly shows that Minnesota puts out less fertilizer and pesticides than other states,” says David Kee, Minnesota Soybean’s director of research. “Our farmers are doing their part in ‘going green’ and using best management practices.”

Read more

MnDOT asks motorists, farm equipment operators to safely share the road

Motorists traveling on Minnesota highways this spring need to be aware of large farm equipment moving from farm to farm, according to the Minnesota Department of Transportation. 

“Planting season is in full swing and farmers in every corner of the state are out on the highways,” said Ray Starr, acting state traffic engineer. “Motorists need to be prepared to encounter slow-moving farm vehicles, especially on rural, two-lane roads.” Read more

Melanoma: a survivor’s story

This story will appear in the upcoming May/June issue of Soybean Business Magazine. 

For most people who spot the first signs of skin cancer, detection often begins with the discovery of an abnormal mole.

Jay Zielske was diagnosed with Stage IV melanoma in 2014.

Jay Zielske’s circumstances are unusual in more ways than one.

“I’m very fortunate and blessed,” Zielske says four years after he was diagnosed with Stage IV melanoma.

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Minnesota Soybean pumps it up for B20

Minnesota’s biodiesel advocates have had May 1, 2018 circled on their calendar for a long time. After all, it’s not every day a state officially enacts a move to a B20 (20 percent biodiesel) minimum blending requirement. 

Some naysayers doubted if the B20 launch day would ever arrive. But breathe easy, Minnesota. The wait is over. 

“We’ve come a long way since the days of B2. We had some early bumps in the road, but we worked through them, and I couldn’t be prouder of this organization,” says Minnesota Soybean Growers Association Director Bob Worth, who was the organization’s president in 2005 when B2 was implemented. “This is a big moment for everyone involved in Minnesota agriculture who helped make biodiesel a reality in Minnesota.” 

The biodiesel truck, built by the DieselSellerz, made its appearance in Minnesota on May 1.

To celebrate the long-awaited move to B20, the Minnesota Soybean team traversed the state in biodiesel powered trucks to promote the homegrown, renewable fuel and its benefits. Five diesel trucks covered more than 1,500 miles and dozens of biodiesel vehicles received free tanks of biodiesel, a ‘May Day’ gift basket and a Minnesota biodiesel history lesson, courtesy of the Minnesota Soybean Research & Promotion Council.

May 1 was also highlighted by the Minnesota debut of the new biodiesel truck built by the DieselSellerz, stars of Discovery’s “Diesel Brothers” reality show. The truck will be making appearances throughout the state in 2018, and is expected to air across multiple episodes of the upcoming season of “Diesel Brothers.” These episodes will showcase Minnesota’s biodiesel industry and soybean farmers on a national stage.

Minnesota has been a leader in biodiesel since B2 was implemented in 2005. Today, biodiesel contributes $1.7 billion to the state’s economic impact, adds 5,400 jobs to the state and increases demand for soybeans by 13 percent. Biodiesel is the only Advanced Biofuel recognized by the Environmental Protection Agency; as B20 goes into effect during the summer months, the use will equate to removing the emissions from 202,000 vehicles from Minnesota roads. 

Minnesota Soybean’s CEO Tom Slunecka says Minnesota’s biodiesel success story wouldn’t have been possible without the cohesion between MSGA, which handled the policy side of protecting the statue in St. Paul, and MSR&PC, which marketed, promoted and highlighted the many ways biodiesel works for all Minnesotans. 

“This is a landmark day for Minnesota soybean farmers, the state’s economy and environment, and the biodiesel industry,” Slunecka says. “It was a total team effort – MSGA and MSR&PC worked hand-in-hand throughout this process to ensure a smooth transition. Ultimately, moving to B20 will continue to increase the profitability of soybean farmers.”  

Olmsted farmer elected to MSR&PC board

Dover, Minn., farmer Ben Storm is the newest MSR&PC director

The Minnesota Soybean Research & Promotion Council (MSR&PC) is pleased to announce the addition of a new director in 2018. In late April, Ben Storm, a soybean grower from Dover, Minn., was elected to serve as the Council’s District 9 representative. Storm is replacing Eric Thorn, who served on the board for 12 years. 

“I have a lot to learn, but this will be a really good opportunity,” Storm says. “I’m just here to learn, so I’ll be going in kind of blind at first.”

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soybean partnership

Former MSR&PC chair honored by alma mater

In late April, Sander “Sandy” Ludeman’s career came full circle. 

The Lyon County farmer and former Minnesota Soybean Research & Promotion Council (MSR&PC) chair was honored as the 2018 recipient of the University of Minnesota’s College of Food, Agricultural and Natural Resource Sciences (CFANS) Lifetime Achievement Award for his decades-long service to agriculture. 

Ludeman accepted the award in the St. Paul Student Center, where, 50 years earlier, Ludeman worked overnights as a janitor when he was an agriculture economics major. 

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MDA: Landowners should heed advice when buying, planting seed for conservation areas

The Minnesota Department of Agriculture (MDA) is issuing a warning to landowners: Be cautious when buying and planting seed, especially for conservation plantings.

Recently, the MDA has encountered several issues with seed sold in the state. In 2016 and 2017, the highly invasive weed Palmer amaranth was introduced through conservation seed mixes. The department found seed mislabeled with improper information regarding the contents of the mix. Also, seed has been sold with very low germination rates. All of these issues are violations of state law.

“Minnesota’s seed industry is very important to agriculture and conservation efforts,” said Agriculture Commissioner Dave Frederickson. “We are fortunate to have many reputable native seed producers that benefit conservation and pollinator habitat. However, a few bad players can bring in invasive weeds. It is important we are vigilant as we try to better our landscapes.”

Here is the MDA’s advice for landowners who plan to purchase and plant seed for conservation efforts.

When selecting a vendor to plant a conservation area:

  • Ask the seed vendor to provide you a copy of the seed label before buying the seed. Be sure the seed has been tested and confirmed free of Palmer amaranth.
  • Make sure the contract with the seeding contractor covers your risks as a landowner. If prohibited noxious weeds are introduced during the project, the vendor should be accountable for their eradication.

At the time of planting:

  • Have someone on site when planting to ensure the vendor is performing the work agreed to in the contract.
  • Count the number of bags of each seed source and compare that to the invoice.
  • Reject any unlabeled seed.
  • Be aware of the labels. Examine and keep all seed labels used in a specific planting.
  • If any noxious weed seeds are listed on the label, verify that only restricted noxious weed seeds are present at a rate of less than 25 seeds per pound.
  • Reject any seed with prohibited noxious weed seeds listed on the label.
  • Require the seeding contractor provide planting records. The records should note which seed lots were planted in specific locations, the planting procedures used, site preparation, and equipment used and how that equipment was cleaned.
  • Retain the invoice and all paperwork for the project.

After planting:

  • When the conservation plantings begin to grow, note that you are seeing the species that should be there. If a plant looks suspicious, contact the MDA’s Arrest the Pest line at 888-545-6684 or your County Ag Inspector.

Landowners with any questions or concerns should consult with their local conservation staff associated with the specific conservation program. They may also contact the MDA for advice and assistance by calling Denise Thiede at 651-201-6531 or emailing her at denise.thiede@state.mn.us.

Dicamba: use it early

The snow is melting, and planting season is upon us.  It will be a hectic time, but if the good lord willing and the creek don’t rise, we will start planting soybeans in the first two weeks of May. The current Minnesota label for dicamba products approved for dicamba tolerant soybeans allows application until June 20. This does not allow a lot of time for growers to use the product. Which brings up a discussion I had with multiple farmers over the winter. When should we apply dicamba to dicamba tolerant soybeans?

The answer is actually simple – when it brings you the biggest bang for the buck with the least risk for damage to someone else. Read more


Soybean Business: Fueling Communities

REG’S Minnesota impact goes beyond biodiesel

This story was first featured in the March – April 2018 issue of Soybean Business and written by guest writer Tom DiBacco. 

During my tenure as a journalist in Washington, D.C., I can recall many an editor cautioning me, “the numbers don’t tell the whole story,” or “look beyond the numbers.” I can now say that it was wise advice for a naïve young man.

It’s part of the reason I traveled to southeastern Minnesota to put a human face on biodiesel’s economic impact on rural communities. Certainly, the numbers on a statewide basis are impressive. According to the Minnesota Department of Agriculture, the total economic impact of the biodiesel industry is estimated at $1.7 billion, with the total employment impact estimated at nearly 5,400 jobs.

Read more