Gary Wertish may live just two miles down the road from the Renville County farm where he was born and raised, but farming has taken him all the way to halls of Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., and beyond.
“Farming’s a good way of life,” says Wertish, president of Minnesota Farmers Union (MFU).
Wertish rents out his farm in Renville, Minn., to his son, Tom. Gary also helps out on the farm, where the Wertishs grow corn, soybeans and navy beans.
Wertish invests in MSGA because he believes commodity groups work best when they’re all moving in the same direction.
“It’s so important, because we need to work with the all groups like MSGA and the other commodity groups,” he says. “We’re such a small voice number-wise, but we’re such a big part of Minnesota’s economy. So it’s very important we work together on issues, and we do very well with that in Minnesota.”
Before becoming MFU president, Wertish served as vice president. In the 2000s, he was then-Sen. Mark Dayton’s agriculture director.
“Every ag commodity group offers something,” he says. “It’s critical to have that coalition as you work in St. Paul and D.C. on issues like biodiesel. When we show we have a unified voice, it makes a difference.”