Sustainability Topic of Central Valley Gathering in Waseca

Steve Peterson, Director of Sourcing Sustainability for General Mills, Inc., and Jennifer Shaw, Head of Sustainability for North America, Syngenta, will lead a discussion on sustainability Tuesday, Dec. 16, at the Miller-Armstrong Center in Waseca, Minn.

Peterson also serves as the Chairman of the MN Agri Growth Council Board and serves on the Field to Market Board. Shaw also serves on the Field to Market Board.

Snacks will be provided and participants will have a chance at winning one of two $100 gift cards. The Miller-Armstrong Center is located at 204 2nd St. SW, Waseca, Minn.

Invasive species

Annual Rural Legislative Forum to Explore WOTUS   

Minnesota Soybean Growers Association and American Soybean Association Director Lawrence Sukalski will be among the panelists at the 32nd Annual Rural Legislative Forum Thursday, Dec. 4, at South Central College in North Mankato. The forum goes from 3:30-8 p.m.

Don Parrish, Senior Director of Regulatory Relations with the American Farm Bureau Federation (AFBF) will be the keynote speaker. This year’s annual forum, “Waters of the U.S. (WOTUS) … Why Should I Care?” will feature Parrish, who along with AFBF, has been highly involved in providing information about the WOTUS proposal and its ramifications.

Lawrence Sukalski

Lawrence Sukalski

 There will also be a Response Panel, which includes Sukalski, who farms in Martin County, Drew Campbell, Blue Earth County Commissioner and member of the AMC Environment & Natural Resources Committee, Warren Formo, Executive Director of the MN Ag Water Resource Center, and a representative from the Minnesota DNR Waters Division. Kent Thiesse, Vice President of MinnStar Bank, will moderate the panel discussion.

 U.S. Congressman Tim Walz is the invited dinner speaker. A State Legislative Panel is planned from 6:45-8 p.m. State senators and representatives from south-central Minnesota have been invited to address audience questions related to the forum’s theme and other key issues for the 2015 state legislative session. Jeremy Geske, Watershed Education Specialist with the MN Ag Water Resources Center, will moderate the legislative panel discussion.

 Registration cost is $10.00 per person, which includes a grilled pork chop dinner and all printed materials. Advance registration is requested prior to Dec. 4. To register, or for more Forum information, contact the Blue Earth County UM Extension Office by phone at 507-304-4325, or by email at:

Invasive species

Exploring an invasive problem for rural and urban communities

Tuesday and Wednesday of this week I attended the Minnesota Water Resources Conference. This conference is put on by the University of Minnesota’s Water Resource Center. The topics vary from lakes and wetlands to low impact development, outreach, fish and nutrients. The event was attended by more than 500 individuals from varied backgrounds. Read more

Water Resources

MAWRC holding info meeting for member organization staff

The Minnesota Agriculture Water Resource Coalition (MAWRC) is hosting a discussion and farm tour 1 p.m to 4 p.m., Oct. 29 for all member organization staff interested in learning about the Discovery Farms program.

MAWRC staff will be discussing outreach efforts and providing guidance in creating an organization’s water related outreach efforts.

Participants should plan to meet at the Minnesota Soybean office, 151 St. Andrews Ct, Suite 710, Mankato. After 1 p.m. introductions, the group will travel to a Discovery Farms location south of Mankato before returning to the Minnesota Soybean office to continue the discussion.

Interested participants should RSVP Warren Formo at

EPA’s interpretation of definition within WOTUS proposal troubling

On Monday, Oct.6,  I had the opportunity to travel with Directors of the American Soybean Association along with staff members from other states to discuss the proposed waters of the United States rule with officials with the EPA. ASA directors Ed Erickson (ND), Ron Moore (IL), Davie Stephens (KY), and Richard Wilkins (DE) discussed the rules impact on their own farms. Read more

Tillage field day

Tillage Options on Display at Field Day

More than 200 farmers took part in a unique event designed to demonstrate the value and impacts of various tillage techniques. The Total Tillage Solutions Field Day drew farmers from several counties to the Jeff Olson farm near Madison, Minn., on Thursday. Put on by the University of Minnesota Extension and sponsored in part by the Minnesota Soybean Research & Promotion Council, the field day offered a unique opportunity to better understand options, advantages and challenges of different tillage equipment options.
In the past decade, there have been many new equipment choices brought to the market. They operate at several depths and create different intensities of soil disturbance that can affect fertilizer, weed, residue and planting management.
The field day used four customized soil pits to demonstrate different management techniques to help producers better understand their tillage options. The pits, using backfill of alternating dark and light soil layers, helped visualize the impact these implements are having below the soil surface. The pits showcased 11 different tillage implements, revealing a cross section of the soil and the disturbance each implement creates. Another station demonstrated the newest applications of UAV technology. Field demonstrations by major equipment manufacturers also took place.

Pope County Soybean Plot

Pope County Farmers Discuss Varieties at Plot Trials

Dozens of Pope County farmers have a better understanding of what crop varieties they may plant in 2015 thanks to the Pope County Plot Event. More than 70 farmers and industry representatives toured the soybean and corn plots on Curt Dahlseng’s farm near Starbuck as seed company representatives shared variety and genetic information.

After the tour of varieties in this year’s plot, Pope and Douglas County FSA Director Grant Herfindahl discussed this year’s farm bill decisions and urged the farmers to be in conversation with their local FSA offices about communications they receive from the USDA.

To wrap things up, Joe Smentek, Minnesota Soybean Director of Environmental Affairs, spoke during supper about EPA’s Waters of the U.S.

“The proposed rule does not clarify waters of the U.S. any more than the current Supreme Court cases,” Smentek said. “It is important for farmers to be engaged in these discussions because it could have ramifications in the future for farmers in caring for their land.”

The Pope County Corn and Soybean Growers Association is affiliated with the Minnesota Soybean Research & Promotion Council (MSR&PC), a non-profit organization controlled by a board of elected soybean producers from across the state who directs the investments of the state’s soybean checkoff dollars into programs designed to increase the profitability of Minnesota’s soybean farmers.