Minnesota Soybean Business

Leaders of the checkoff: Council elections give farmers a voice in directing checkoff dollars

March-April 2021

The Minnesota Soybean Research & Promotion Council (MSR&PC) is holding its annual election this spring. For the past few months, the Council has been seeking candidates to fill five seats. Longtime Council Director Jim Call has decided to step down from his District 4 position when his term expires. Soybean Business will be honoring Call’s service to Minnesota farmers in the May-June issue.

MSR&PC directors serve three-year terms, beginning July 1. The 15 elected farmers wisely direct the investments of soybean checkoff money into developing new uses for soybeans, expanding markets, researching new production practices and technologies and promoting the use of soybeans – all with an eye on improving profitability for Minnesota soybean farmers.

“Serving on the Council is rewarding and an important step in directing where soybean checkoff investments go,” MSR&PC Vice Chair and election chair Joe Serbus said. “A larger pool of candidates gives farmers the chance to vote for someone who will give them a voice on checkoff investments. The more the merrier.”

Below is a closer look at the candidates running for the Council. The Minnesota Department of Agriculture mailed ballots March 19 to farmers who have voted in past MSR&PC elections or who requested a ballot. Ballots are due back to MDA by April 5. No ballots will be accepted postmarked after April 5.

District 1, 2 & 3

Kris Folland, Halma, Minn., Kittson County

Kris grows soybeans, corn and wheat and raises beef cattle and is a Certified Crop Advisor. He is currently a director with MSR&PC. He also serves on the Farmers Union Oil of Lake Bronson board of directors, the Northern Crops Council, Kittson County Extension Committee board, the Kittson County Soybean Growers board and is a Kittson County 4-H Leader. He previously served on the Farm Service Agency County Committee board and is a member of the Minnesota Soybean Growers Association, the Minnesota State Cattlemen’s Association and the Minnesota Association of Wheat Growers.

Kris Folland is the Council’s District 1, 2 & 3 representative.

On the Council, Kris says:

“It has been an honor to serve the soybean growers of Minnesota the past six years, and I am willing to serve another term. I strive to make best use of your checkoff dollars and work on behalf of the soybean producers of Minnesota to research production, innovative uses and promote soybeans and soybean products throughout Minnesota and the world. I love soybeans.”

District 4

Paul Dahlseng, Starbuck, Minn., Pope County

Paul grows corn and soybeans and raises beef cattle. He is a board member and plot chairman for the Pope County Corn & Soybean Growers Association, and serves on his church council. He’s a member of MSGA and MCGA. Paul has also been a past District 4 Council representative.

Paul Dahlseng farms in Starbuck.

On the Council, Paul says:

“I wish to serve on the Council because I want to help make Minnesota soybeans more profitable for Minnesota farmers by helping to serve existing demand and increasing future growth by investing in research of new technologies and promoting Minnesota soybeans to sustain and build demand.”

District 4

Paul Freeman, Fergus Falls, Minn., Pope County

Paul grows corn, soybeans and wheat. He’s a director and former president of MSGA. He’s also a member of Sacred Heart Church and Knights of Columbus; the Upper Mississippi Waterway Association (past chair); and is a representative on the Agriculture Research, Education, Extension and Technology Transfer (AGREET) Oversight Board. Paul is enrolled in the Minnesota Agriculture Water Quality Certification Program (MAWQCP) and serves on the MAWQCP Advisory Board.

Paul Freeman is a past president of MSGA.

On the Council, Paul says:

“It would be an honor and privilege to serve on the Minnesota Research & Promotion Council and oversee our checkoff dollars for the betterment of the soybean industry. Minnesota agriculture has been blessed with excellent resources to help feed livestock, people and the economy. The best way to maintain the high level of respect farmers have earned is to be relentless in finding better ways to utilize and improve these resources. I have been on the membership team of the Minnesota Soybean Growers Association for several years, serving in leadership opportunities at county, state, federal and international levels. Both groups provide excellent returns on our investment with different missions. If voted in by my peers, I will work hard to keep the Council at the forefront of research, new opportunities and educating. As I look across the landscape of west-central Minnesota, there are many empty cow barns and more fields of soybeans. The magic of trading cows for beans is the many new uses of soybeans the Minnesota Soybean Research & Promotion Council has helped find!”

District 4

Mitchell Hufford, Morris, Minn., Stevens County

Mitchell grows and raises soybeans, corn, wheat, beef cattle and hogs. He’s a member of MSGA, MCGA and the Stevens County Corn Growers Board.

Mitchell Hufford farms in Stevens County.

On the Council, Mitchell says:

“I wish to serve on the Minnesota Soybean Research & Promotion Council to help influence where our checkoff dollars are spent and improve farmer profitability. Serving on the Council will allow me to serve farmers in our region and learn more about where checkoff dollars are invested.”

District 7

Jim Willers, Beaver Creek, Minn., Rock County

Jim grows soybeans, corn and alfalfa. He is a current MSR&PC director and is a member of the MSGA, MCGA, the Rock County Agriculture Society and serves on the Minnesota Biodiesel Council and the United Soybean Board. He has been involved in the advancements in biodiesel in Minnesota over the course of the past 20 years.

Jim Willers chairs the Council’s product development action team.

On the Council, Jim says:

“Serving Minnesota soybean farmers on the Minnesota Soybean Research & Promotion Council has been a privilege and an honor. Investing checkoff dollars in research and promotion that benefits all soybean farmers and the soybean industry has always been my goal. These investments have been beneficial to the price and growth of the soybean industry. I will work to see that this continues to benefit the soybean industry. Finding new uses for the growing supply of soybeans has always been a challenge that I would like to help solve.”

District 8

Cole Trebesch, Springfield, Minn., Brown County

Cole raises soybeans, corn, hogs and cattle on his family farm. He is currently MSR&PC chair and previously served as vice chair. Cole is a member of MSGA, MCGA and the St. Johns Evangelical Lutheran Church in Sleepy Eye. He also serves on the Farmward Cooperative Board and is vice chair of the 40 Square Cooperative Solutions Board.

Cole Trebesch was reelected Council chair in 2020.

On the Council, Cole says:

“It has been an honor to serve on the Minnesota Soybean Research & Promotion Council for the past several years, and I would appreciate the opportunity to continue with another term. I believe that the collaboration between MSR&PC and the Minnesota Soybean Growers Association makes this one of the leading ag organizations in the state, and it is a fun organization to be a part of. We have successfully faced many challenges in the past, and will continue to do so into the future. Minnesota Soybean works hard to help all soybean farmers through investing in research to improve yield, quality and environmental issues, as well as working on improving markets at home and around the world. I would be honored to continue to serve on the board of directors.”

District 9

Ben Storm, Dover, Minn., Olmsted County

Ben Storm is running for a second term as Council chair.

Ben raises corn, soybeans and hogs on his family farm. He is a member of Minnesota Farm Bureau, MCGA, MSGA, St. Matthews Church and the Compeer Financial Nominating Committee and serves as chair of the Olmsted/Wabasha Corn and Soybean Growers Association. Storm is also enrolled in the MAWQCP.

On the Council, Ben says:

“I am just finishing my first term on the Council. It has been a great experience, and I have learned a lot and would like to continue serving the farmers in Minnesota.”



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