Minnesota Soybean Business

Why Johnson Joined: MSGA VP finds value in membership

Just over 20 years ago, Darin Johnson joined the Faribault County Corn & Soybean Growers Board because he wanted to get more involved at the county and state levels.

“I was young and wanting to learn more,” Johnson said. “I knew that I was going to obviously be tied to agriculture for the rest of my life.”

Once he became a county director, Johnson signed up to become a member of the Minnesota Soybean Growers Association (MSGA). However, like many farmers, Johnson didn’t quite understand how MSGA and the Minnesota Soybean Research & Promotion Council (MSR&PC) diverged. 

“I just wanted to learn how they both operate – what’s the difference between paying a membership to MSGA and where our checkoff dollars are going,” Johnson said.

Although both organizations work together, MSR&PC is federally prevented from using checkoff dollars for lobbying. That’s where MSGA’s membership dollars come into play. 

“The differences between the two organizations can be confusing. That’s why we continue to communicate to growers the importance of MSGA,” MSGA Executive Director Joe Smentek said. “It’s really important to have an organization like MSGA because we can go where the checkoff side can’t.” 

Johnson’s passion for policy helped move him through the ranks as he became more involved on the state level. He became a director on the state board and now serves as vice president of MSGA.

“I enjoy going to St. Paul and meeting and talking to our representatives,” Johnson said. “At first, it is a little intimidating. But really, what they want to do is learn, too, just as much as we do. So we are able to talk to them about what we do and how we do it, and they are always interested.”

Johnson is proud of the accomplishments MSGA has notched during his leadership ascension. 

“Minnesota is a leader as far as biodiesel. We started at B2 and now are at B20,” Johnson said.

Other tangible policy wins Johnson mentioned included property tax and school tax relief, which help put millions of dollars back into farmers’ bottom lines.

“I always know that MSGA is continually fighting on my behalf in St. Paul and Washington, D.C.,” Johnson said. “That’s why I joined MSGA.”

Join Johnson and click here to become a member of MSGA.


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