Minnesota Soybean Business

Putting in work

September-October 2023

By MSGA Executive Director Joe Smentek

School buses making their appearance on our roads again after a long summer slumber are my first signal that harvest is right around the corner for our nearly 3,000 members. And now, it’s in full swing.

As our farmers are in the thick of this hectic, stressful, busy season, I want to throw one more thing on your to-do list. Keep a close eye on how your farm and farming operation could work better. No, I’m not talking about that certain son-in-law, or the employee with the foot-long, Kool-Aid-dyed beard. Our hands are tied there. Instead, I’m talking regulations, rules, taxes and fees that pinch your profitability without an identifiable benefit.

In a MSGA resolution meeting two years ago, an idea was thrown out to amend the homestead tax credit as it pertains to township distances. That idea morphed and evolved. With the help of Minnesota Pork, we helped transform the resolution into new legislation that increased the homestead base exemption to $3.5 million. This sets a new floor for the exemption and will save Minnesota’s family farmers dollars this next tax season and for years to come. This is a textbook example of advocacy in action – from the county level all the way to the Capitol in St. Paul.

Joe Smentek has been executive director of the Minnesota Soybean Growers Association since 2018.

We have a truly dynamic duo of lobbyists that represent us in St. Paul. Cory Bennett and A.J. Duerr work tirelessly on the priorities laid out by our board. Their work this past session – with about one-third of lawmakers who were new to the legislature – was key in securing the tax reduction wins. They have decades of experience in the halls of the Capitol and know how to get things done for farmers. What they don’t know – and where we need your help – is what needs to be worked on.

To be fair, yes, we have a rather large list of priorities to still work on through our current resolutions. However, there are new issues cropping up across the state on a yearly basis. These issues are exactly what our annual resolutions process is there for. This winter, we will meet again to discuss new resolutions, cross off those that we accomplished and highlight the most pressing issues. This grassroots process is not valuable without robust participation. Our pre-resolution meeting is set for Dec. 11 in Mankato. We will have two representatives from every organized soybean county at that meeting. Then, on Jan. 17, we will meet at our annual meeting during MN AG EXPO to finalize our resolutions. Be on the lookout for more information as winter (yes, it’s coming) approaches.

Talk with your county board about submitting resolutions and make sure your areas concerns are heard. Have a new local county issue? Let us know! Some new legislation is impacting your operation in an unintended way? Let us know! Still mad about buffers? Yup, we hear you! Like I said, we still have some work to do.

Want to help us help you? Well, get on the bus and join MSGA! Visit mnsoybean.org/msga/invest/ to become a member today. As you’re hauling in this year’s crop, we’re working for you, your farm, family and future.


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