Get to Know Your Checkoff Leader: Kris Folland

A farmer’s passion is rooted in helping others. Serving as the District 1, 2 and 3 representatitve for the Minnesota Soybean Research & Promotion Council (MSR&PC), Kris Folland’s main goal is finding solutions for farmers’ needs. Folland currently farms with his family in Kittson County, adding to his 25 years of farming experience. Folland, as a farmer and council member, values the checkoff’s all-encompassing work with soybeans.

The checkoff views investing in all aspects of soybeans as important. Soybean production directly affects the environment, and MSR&PC works with farmers to help them realize their local and global impact. The checkoff also invests in various areas of research including management practices, disease and insect control, and yield.

“Checkoff-funded research has changed the soybean industry in Minnesota,” says Folland, who also chairs Minnesota Soybean’s production action team. “I’ve watched soybeans expand throughout Minnesota, Canada and the Midwest. This shows how checkoff dollars have advanced breeding, production and agronomic practices to fit our area.”

Soybeans can be used in a variety of ways, from animal feed to biodiesel. Biodiesel is the by-product of soybean meal production that used to go to waste. Utilizing soybean oil and repurposing it for biodiesel adds value to farmers’ soybeans. Currently, biodiesel adds about 5,400 jobs to Minnesota and has a $1.7 billion economic impact. Starting in 2018, Minnesota is moving to a 20 percent biodiesel blend (B20) mandate, requiring Minnesota diesel fuels to contain at least 20 percent biodiesel in the summer months. Biodiesel is a cleaner-burning fuel, and with the move to B20, the amount of emissions removed will be equivalent to taking 200,000 cars off the road.

“Clean air is something everyone can agree on,” Folland says. “We have a product that has a great economic impact, benefits farmers and helps air quality. Those numbers will only improve with B20 in 2018.”

MSR&PC board invests checkoff dollars in finding uses for soybeans in Minnesota, but also worldwide. The checkoff ensures that Minnesota soybeans stay competitive in global markets, with half of Minnesota’s soybeans exported out of the United States. High-quality soybeans, positive relationships with international buyers and exporters, along with the ability to meet customer needs help keep Minnesota, as a soybean producer, relevant worldwide.

During his time working with MSR&PC, Folland has witnessed the checkoff being a valuable asset to Minnesota soybean farmers.

“The checkoff is a small investment for farmers that yields big returns,” Folland concludes. “It adds value to farmers’ crops, which, in turn, adds to their bottom line. We truly put the farmer first with everything we do.”

Southeast Asia conference covers an array of topics

Three Minnesota soybean farmer leaders attended the annual United States Soybean Export Council (USSEC) Southeast Asia Agricultural Leadership Summit in Auckland, New Zealand, last week. 

Minnesota Soybean Research & Promotion Council (MSR&PC) Director Keith Schrader and Minnesota Soybean Growers Association (MSGA) Director Trevore Brekken attended the conference, along with MSGA Director and American Soybean Association Treasurer Bill Gordon.  Read more

An oil change abroad

Representatives from the Minnesota Soybean Research & Promotion Council (MSR&PC), United Soybean Board (USB) and United States Soybean Export Council (USSEC) were on-hand last week for the International High Oleic Soybean Conference in Bucharest, Romania. 

“It was a very informative experience,” said MSR&PC Director Jim Willers, who attended the conference. “The European food industries are following the lead of the United States by resisting the use of trans fat. High oleic has zero grams of trans fat and has 20 percent less saturated fat than commodity soybean oil, so we definitely see an opening for potential for high oleic in the European market.” Read more

Nobles County restaurants give high oleic soybean oil a thumbs-up

Earlier this year, the Nobles County Corn and Soybean Growers donated 35-gallon jugs of Plenish® high oleic soybean oil to 14 area restaurants to sample in their kitchens.

“We wanted to get this out to the masses and get ahead of the game by showing this is a healthy cooking oil,” says Nobles County Corn and Soybean Growers Association President Matt Widboom. “We learned from our first time doing this that restaurants were hugely impressed with it.” Read more

Get to Know Your Checkoff Leader – Rob Hanks

With 42 years of farming under his belt, Rob Hanks, District 9 representative for the Minnesota Soybean Research & Promotion Council (MSR&PC), knows a thing or two about agriculture. Hanks and his brother run a diverse farming operation of cattle, hogs, corn, soybeans and hay in southeast Minnesota. In addition to serving as MSR&PC’s District 9 representative, Hanks participates in the production and new uses committees.

Hanks has a wealth of experience with the Minnesota soybean checkoff – he has been on the MSR&PC board for nearly 20 years and was elected chairman in 2007. In addition to his state checkoff experience, Hanks has served nine years on the United Soybean Board (USB). Hanks strongly believes the state and national checkoff helps farmers overcome challenges soybean farmers face in their fields, and helps add value to their crop.

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United Soybean Board

United Soybean Board announces new CEO

After an intensive search by a farmer-led team, the United States Board (USB) has named Polly Ruhland as the new chief executive officer (CEO) effective Nov. 1, 2017. 

“Polly exceeded all of the attributes for what we as a board were looking for in a new CEO to lead us into the future,” says John Motter, USB chair and soybean farmer from Jenera, Ohio. 

Gene Stoel, a Minnesota Research and Promotion Council (MSR&PC) director and USB director, was impressed with Ruhland’s breath of knowledge and grasp of issues related to commodity groups.  Read more

Get to Know Your Checkoff Leader – Gene Stoel

With a passion for research and an impressive background working with farmer advocacy groups, Gene Stoel, a corn and soybean farmer from Lake Wilson, Minn., makes a great addition to the United Soybean Board (USB). Stoel also serves as a District 7 representative for the Minnesota Soybean Research & Promotion Council (MSR&PC), where he is an advocate for involvement and promotion, especially when it shows results for farmers.

“I don’t know of any manufacturing company, or any company producing a product, that doesn’t promote itself,” says Stoel. “I feel that we, as farmers, need to promote ourselves and our crop. The soybean checkoff has been great in helping us accomplish that.” Read more

damaged soybeans

Gathering dicamba data needed for documentation

Minnesota Soybean Growers Association (MSGA) Director Lawrence Sukalski has reached out to his liability insurance agent to discuss dicamba, and he advises fellow growers not to hesitate reporting suspected dicamba damage in their fields. 

“Most importantly, growers who think they might be suffering from dicamba damage need to make sure they’re covered for insurance reasons before it’s too late in the season,” the Martin County farmer says. “They shouldn’t be afraid to file a report. We want to be as diligent as we can on the dicamba issue to properly manage this, and that starts with documentation.”

Earlier this week, the Minnesota Department of Agriculture (MDA) had reported receiving 54 dicamba-related complaints, well below the numbers seen in other states.

Joshua Stamper, MDA’s Pesticide & Fertilizer Management Division director, says the names of people filing potential dicamba-related complaints are kept private within the department, and aren’t shared publicly. 

“The potential for drift is always going to be there, but we don’t believe these cases to be off-label uses,” Stamper says. “We do advise farmers to follow the best management practices, cross their Ts and dot their Is.”

Stamper says a complaint doesn’t necessarily mean dicamba drift is to blame; other culprits and factors could be to blame. Most complaints are inspected in approximately one week. 

“Drift, volatility and failure to properly clean sprayers, these are all on the table for causes, but it’s hard to know unless folks report and document any damage they might observe,” says Tom Peters, extension agronomist at North Dakota State University. “This is important because the only way we can learn more about dicamba drift is by compiling the reported data. We need to see the full numbers before issuing any conclusions.” 

Sukalski says MSGA is taking the issue seriously and proceeding with caution, but there is no cause for alarm at this stage. 

“We’re trying our best to collaborate with industry partners and the MDA to find a solution,” he says. “MSGA is holding meetings and working hard to get the word out there that if you think you’ve experienced dicamba damage, the best course is to report it.” 

For more information, growers can visit XtendiMax’s application requirement page or call 1-844-RRXTEND for questions regarding performance issues with a Monstano dicamba product.

DuPont recommends users always consult label and state requirements before applying FeXapan™ herbicide plus VaporGrip® Technology.

For stewardship information, product details and training around tank mix guidelines, nozzles and operating pressure, boom height, application timing, wind speed, ground speeds, buffer requirements, triple-rinse cleanout procedure and additional topics, visit FeXapan’s website and application requirements page

MDA has also posted a dicamba fact sheet.

Growers can file a private complaint with MDA on their pesticide website 

Soybean farmers host trade team visit

Scott and Vicky Singlestad hosted a buyers mission this week at their 800-acre farm in Waseca. Eight countries were represented; the Minnesota Soybean Research & Promotion Council (MSR&PC) sponsored buyers from Romania and Vietnam.

“We’ve been doing this for a number of years,” Vicky says. “We have so much fun meeting people from across the ag world, and showing these folks how we farm in Minnesota.”

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minnesota soybean growers association

MN Soybean leaders tout value of volunteering

George Goblish anticipated his tenure as president of the Minnesota Soybean Growers Association (MSGA) would be a refreshing professional endeavor.

But he didn’t foresee having a bucket of ice water literally dumped on his head included in the job description. 

“Boy, was that cold!” Goblish says, laughing as he recalled his 2014 participation in the viral Ice Bucket Challenge to raise money for ALS research. “That’s what you have to do when you’re president of an organization –it’s important to be able to put yourself out there like that. It’s a growing experience.”

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