What is it like serving as MSGA president? It means you receive out-of-the blue phone calls like: “You must let all farmers know that elevator moisture testers are not government regulated or calibrated; the only exceptions are those on a railroad, which are tested by the Feds.” You receive and graciously accommodate requests from important people who want to visit your messy, muddy farm in the middle of harvest. And you attend events like Big Iron to let farmers know one-on-one that our organization is not about politics – we are about policies, making sure Minnesota soybean farming operations aren’t unduly or unnecessarily burdened by current and proposed legislation.
Being a presidential volunteer involves all of the glamour of traveling to the “big” towns – Mankato, St. Cloud and St. Paul. Best yet, the torch is handed-over to a new farmer every one-to-three years. We could put “insert your picture here” next to this story, because if you have a passion and aren’t afraid of a little extra work, it all starts at your local county soybean chapter by being a member.
A few weeks ago, I came across a very short, online survey authored by Minnesota’s Environment and Natural Resources Trust Fund (ENRTF). The very first question was a temper inciter for me: Which one of the following is your biggest area of concern for Minnesota’s environmental and natural resources? Agriculture, Air Quality, Aquatic Habitat, Climate Change, Energy, Environmental Education, Outdoor Recreation, Wildlife Habitat, Water Quality, or Water Quantity? ENRTF dollars come from state lottery proceeds and over the past decade, they have totaled $360 million, with 91% of the funds given to three agencies to grant/use: the DNR (53%), U of M (28%), and BWSR (10%). After knowing this, would you have wanted an opportunity to complete the survey? Step one: verify you are an active MSGA member. Step two: find MSGA on Facebook or Twitter and join our network. I am new-ish to both, but assure you that you will not be disappointed; the ag community is strong, and it is never too late to learn how to use these tools – you might even find a good buy or receive tips on how to repair equipment!
I learned a long time ago that to identify a person’s priorities, you only need to look at their budget. We first allow for life’s necessities, and then are able to make decisions on the social issues and corresponding non-profits that we support. In my 20s and 30s, the necessities were diapers and formula, and non-profit support started with the Ronald McDonald House, which provided food and housing when one of my babies tried to make an entrance too early. My priorities today have expanded beyond maintaining my own corner of the world, and now include making statewide farming conditions better. I achieve this priority through my membership with MSGA. For those of you who are already members, thank you! And for those of you considering membership, please join us.