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Minnesota Soybean Business

Letter from the President: Worth every moment

May-June 2024

Spring is here, which means it’s a time of hope and renewal as our farming community starts a new planting season. For this Lake Benton farmer, so begins my 54th growing season. What a privilege it is to work the land alongside my son, Jon, to plant this year’s crop.

Serving as MSGA president over the past two years has been a privilege to say the least. These two years have flown by in the blink of an eye – one minute I’m walking Capitol Hill with my fellow directors, the next I’m hosting a U.S. senator and congresswoman on my farm. Then I wake up (with jet leg) on the other side of the world, and I’m touring Australia’s agriculture industry with Gov. Tim Walz.

Friends, it’s been a whirlwind and team effort every step along the way.

MSGA President Bob Worth (left) talks Farm Bill and 2023 crop conditions with Rep. Michelle Fischbach.

One of my favorite parts about my second term as MSGA president has been collaborating with our partners at the Minnesota Soybean Research & Promotion Council (MSR&PC). Both MSR&PC and MSGA know where we can (and cannot) overlap, and together we’ve built a well-oiled machine. MSGA can’t thank the Council enough for their support of Soybean Business. In this issue of Soybean Business, you’ll learn more about all the innovative ways our soy checkoff is improving farmer profitability, through investments in soy-based firefighting foam and growing new markets in Uzbekistan.

I want to thank the entire team at MSGA, from our executive leadership to our administrative team, for making my second run as president one of the greatest thrills of my leadership career. Joe Smentek has been executive director since 2018 and works tirelessly to take our advocacy efforts to the next level. During my first MSGA presidency in 2005-2007, I never could’ve imagined MSGA would be as involved and engaged as we are in the 2020s – and not just in the legislative realm, but in the court system as well.

Behind the scenes, Director of Administration Melinda Roberts does a fantastic job running our operations efficiently. Soybean Business Managing Editor Drew Lyon also deserves kudos for helping to oversee this award-winning magazine and delivering MSGA’s messaging with precision. Drew would rather stay out of the spotlight, but as president, I ordered him to not remove this section from my final President’s Letter. I also applaud Membership Manager Jodie Arndt for growing our membership base and brainstorming creative promotions to keep members involved.

If you’re not a member of MSGA, do this outgoing president a favor and join today. Jodie has you covered!

MSGA appreciates that family comes first. I must thank my family and my wife and partner of more than 50 years, Gail Worth, for holding down the fort during my extensive traveling throughout my years of service to MSGA. As you’ll read in this issue’s tribute to our friend Bruce Schmoll, farmer leadership is rewarding, but it also means valuable time away from our loved ones and farms. We must never lose sight that advocacy requires sacrifices from the entire family.

I step down as president with my head held high because I know all the pieces are in place for MSGA to thrive for years to come. It’s fitting that my final board meeting as president takes place in June at our new headquarters in Mankato. Our officer team is also primed to lead this organization into the future, and I can’t wait to bear witness to the progress we’ll make in St. Paul and Washington, D.C., under the next president’s leadership. I’m old enough to be a father (and possibly grandfather)to my fellow officers but am humbled to call them friends and colleagues. They’ve kept this older farmer feeling young at heart.

Of course, this isn’t a goodbye but merely a transition to a new role. I look forward to remaining an at-large MSGA director and stand at the ready to assist and mentor in any way I can. Thank you all for placing your confidence in me to serve as MSGA president.

I hope I made MSGA proud.

Bob Worth farms in Lake Benton and is the only MSGA president to serve multiple, two-year terms.

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