Minnesota Soybean Business

‘The right path’: Redwood County farmers are raising their national profiles

January-February 2023

In a state chock full of rural advocates, one southwest Minnesota county is proving to be a powerhouse in agriculture leadership. 

Minnesota supports a record seven directors on the American Soybean Association. Of those seven farmer-leaders, two – George Goblish and Adam Guetter – hail from Redwood County, begging the question: What’s in the water over there? Well, it starts at the local level in a region that prides itself on soybean and corn production. In 2021, Redwood County harvested 10.7 million bushels of soybeans and, according to the 2017 Agriculture Census, accounts for 2% of Minnesota’s total ag sales. 

“When I was on the county board, we were very active and we still are, and I think it’s that grassroots activity we do on the county board that leads people into the next role,” said Goblish, who farms in Vesta with his wife, Jenifer, and their family. “Redwood and Renville are, give or take, the top producers of corn and soybeans in the state. We should be leaders in our respective organizations.” 

Minnesota’s other five ASA Directors are Jamie Beyer, Chris Hill, Jim Kukowski, Michael Petefish and Joel Schreurs, respectively. From northwest to the southern swath of the state, Minnesota is well-represented. Goblish, who served as MSGA president from 2014-2015, has done his part in motivating his peers. 

“Redwood County has so many active leaders because when you see the work of your state or national leaders who live in your communities – it really builds confidence in a grower to get involved in some of these leadership positions,” Guetter said. “You look at a guy like George (Goblish) who’s been on ASA for years and say, ‘Hey, I see some of the differences that he’s making,’ and it kind of makes you feel like you want to get involved and make the difference.’” 

ASA’s mission for more than a century is advocating for U.S. soybean farmers on policy and trade at the federal level. ASA has 26 affiliated state soybean associations, including the Minnesota Soybean Growers Association, which in 1963 became the first state organization to join. 

George Goblish (right) is one of seven Minnesota farmers who represents MSGA during Hill Visits in Washington, D.C., as part of his role with the American Soybean Association.

Goblish was appointed to the MSGA board in 2004. He has grown his role since then and joined ASA beginning in 2014. He also sits on the World Initiative for Soy in Human Health (WISHH) governing committee. Goblish appreciates the importance of giving space for other directors to hone their leadership attributes. 

“I like the policy work and the leadership roles I take on in ASA and how it’s really expanded my horizons,” said Goblish, who also has been a director with the Minnesota Corn Research & Promotion Council. “I also like knowing that, at the end of the day, I helped the American farmer. The work we do is important. And, hopefully the next generation finds it important as well. I’m glad Adam is stepping up, I think he’s going to do great and this next generation coming of farmers. It’s these younger guys who are stepping up and playing an important role for the future.”

Go Guetter 

Guetter became involved with MSGA after participating in the United Soybean Board’s See for Yourself (SFY) Trip in 2015. He interest in learning more on the national side expanded further when he replaced Bill Gordon on the ASA board in 2021. 

On the SFY trip, Guetter saw how his checkoff dollars were invested. As a farmer from southwest Minnesota, he doesn’t have direct relationships with the end users in China or Vietnam; through this trip and ASA he is able to make those connections.

Adam and Melanie Guetter are graduates of ASA’s 2018 Dupont Young Leader Program. In 2021, Adam replaced Bill Gordon on the ASA board. 

“It’s enjoyable to be an ASA director,” Guetter said. “The advocacy work is really rewarding. You get to see a lot of the steps and the procedures you usually don’t get to see, whether it be lawmaking, or rulemaking or some of the trade issues that come up that kind of pass by the mainstream media. To see those first-hand is really rewarding.”

Goblish sits on ASA’s executive committee and is past chair of the SoyPac committee, which helps raise funds for donations to candidates who’ve supported ASA. He said this fundraising role helps ensure ASA has a voice in policy discussions. He’s currently chair of Commodity Classic committee and is a liaison to the Soy Aquaculture Alliance. 

Above all, Goblish appreciates the friendships he’s forged in ag leadership. 

“It’s very rewarding,” Goblish said of serving on ASA. “The people I meet, it’s kind of a brotherhood, you know, whether you’re male or female you’re a part of something that’s important. You meet lifelong friends.”

Guetter serves on the Trade Policy and International Affairs Advocacy team, which works with international trade rules and regulations. In September 2022, he attended a buyers’ conference of the Americas in South America. At the conference, he connected with end users and sat on a panel, answering questions about sustainability practices, crop conditions, a crop report from his area of Minnesota and other agriculture-related questions. 

Volunteering on boards has afforded Guetter numerous opportunities and pushed him to continue to be involved in the soybean industry beyond farming. He admires those leaders who served before him.

“There’s a lot of encouragement for the younger leaders in ASA,” said Guetter, who enrolled in ASA Soybean Leadership College. “I use the words ‘senior’ and ‘freshmen’ leaders. We need our senior leadership for their experience. We also have a nice blend of young leaders coming in, too, so we can not only learn from the experiences of the more senior guys, but we can also get the energy and the encouragement and the opinion of the younger guys on the board. It’s nice to get that blend when you have plenty of senior leaders there to help you and guide you down the right path, but then you have the younger group of future leaders, too.” 

Learning opportunities 

The prestigious ASA Corteva Agriscience Young Leader Program is another platform that Redwood County has used to expand their leadership opportunities. 

Redwood County farmers Jeff and Kelli Sorenson went through the ASA leadership program. The program started in 1984 and continues to set a bar for leadership, with many of the MSGA and MSR&PC directors having completed the training, including Guetter and his wife, Melanie. The leadership development course brings agriculture leaders from around the nation to participate in a two-phase experience and a third phase for a select few for training on policy and legislation. 

“When I was a young leader, it was always encouraged for my wife to be part of it,” Guetter said. “My wife said that a lot of the leadership training she received at the Young Leader Program, she uses in her day-to-day life on and off the farm. She came back and gave a report to her boss, and they were just ecstatic that she went to the training, she went to a leadership program that an organization like ASA provides to the farmers.” 

Jeffrey is an agronomist at Legend Seeds and serves on the MSGA board and several MSGA committees. He’s also chair of the Redwood County Corn and Soybean Growers Board. Kelli is an agriculture banker.

Jeffrey applied for the program after being encouraged by fellow board members to take the next step in his leadership growth. 

“From a farming aspect, it’s been good,” Sorenson said. “We both probably see a little bit more of what’s going on the farm and how we can change things.” 


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