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Minnesota Soybean Business

MSGA Did You Know?: Catching up with Ron Bunjer

May-June 2021

In 1979, the Lyon County Soybean Association started a movement when it gathered in Marshall for the first organized county meeting of Minnesota soybean farmers. Their neighboring county to the west, Lincoln County, would soon assemble its own farmer-led board. Arco farmer Ron Bunjer attended the first meeting, and he later convinced his friend and future MSGA President, Bob Worth, to join the board. Worth returned the favor by later convincing Bunjer to run for a position with the American Soybean Association.

“We got started at the local level, and it just blossomed from there,” said Bunjer, who farms with his wife, Patty, in southwest Minnesota near the South Dakota border.

Last year, Bunjer retired from MSGA following six years as an at-large director and six years as an American Soybean Association director.

“Like they always say, ‘If you’re not at the table, you could be on the menu,’” Bunjer said. “I wanted to be at the table.”

Bunjer was elected to ASA’s board in 2008 (at the time, five farmers represented Minnesota). During consecutive three-year terms on ASA, Bunjer helped solidify ASA’s leadership structure, advocating for farm bills and increasing market access and renewable fuels. Bunjer said he felt privileged to walk the halls of the Capitol on behalf of the country’s soybean farmers.

“I’ve been there many times, and it’s always an honor to visit our nation’s capital,” he said.

In 2014, when his term on ASA concluded, MSGA appointed Bunjer to an at-large position. He served on MSGA’s advocacy team and attended Hill Visits in St. Paul. In 2019, Bunjer participated in a roundtable interview at a Lake Benton diner with farmers and international journalists. Over the course of six years, he enjoyed learning about the production practices of his fellow Minnesota farmers.

Though retired from the MSGA board, Arco farmer Ron Bunjer continues serving on his local Lincoln County Corn and Soybean Growers Board.

“The biggest thing is meeting the people and getting a different view of what everyone goes through,” he said “You meet a diverse bunch of people on MSGA, that’s for sure. It’s good to meet people with a different outlook; Minnesota farmers aren’t one-size-fits-all.”

Echoing other retired directors, Bunjer said he cherishes the friendships he forged during his ag leadership career.

“What you miss most is the people,” he said. “You just get to know so many great people when you join a farming board.”

Bunjer continues to serve on the Lincoln County Corn and Soybean Board, one of the state’s most active organized counties. He remains active in county programs, including fundraising events, biofuels promotions and their annual meeting, which often raises tens of thousands of dollars for scholarships for area high school students.

“If you don’t start at the ground, where do you go?” he said. “You’ve got to have grassroots.”

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