Not your average Joe: Bird Island farmer elected MSR&PC chair

June 25, 2021 / Categories: Uncategorized

After two years as vice chair, Joe Serbus was elected chair of the Minnesota Soybean Research & Promotion Council by his farmer peers Friday during the organization’s in-person quarterly board meeting. The Bird Island farmer replaces Springfield farmer Cole Trebesch, who remains on the Council after serving two years as chair.

“I’m honored my fellow farmers have put their confidence in me to lead this first-class organization,” Serbus said. “Being part of the Minnesota Soybean Research & Promotion Council has allowed me to be more involved in Minnesota’s agriculture, and I’ve seen firsthand how the soybean checkoff improves Minnesota farmers’ bottom lines.”

Serbus is also a Minnesota crop adjuster and serves on the Bird Island Hawk Creek board of directors and is a committee member of his local church. Serbus grows soybeans, corn and sweetcorn in Renville County and is MSR&PC’s District 5 and 6 representative. He was first elected to MSR&PC in 2016, and served as treasurer in 2018 and 2019.

(from left to right) Tom Frisch, Pat Sullivan, Gail Donkers, Joe Serbus

In addition to Serbus, Tom Frisch (Dumont) was elected vice chair, Gail Donkers (Faribault) was elected treasurer and Pat Sullivan (Franklin) was re-elected secretary.

Frisch has served as the Council’s District 4 representative since 2019. In 2021, he was named the Council’s Director of the Year. Frisch also serves on the Ag Innovation Campus Board.

“I truly believe that family farms, just like ours, feed not only our great nation – but also our friends around the world,” Frisch said. “As producers, it is our responsibility to educate our friends, neighbors, and policymakers on our industry, and I hope to be part of the solution assisting with identifying new markets and technology to increase profitability.”

MSR&PC directors serve three-year terms, beginning July 1, and are elected by Minnesota soybean farmers within their district. MSR&PC is the 15-seat, elected board of soybean producers from Minnesota who direct checkoff investments toward programs designed to increase the profitability for the state’s nearly 28,000 soybean farmers.

In April, Kittson County farmer Kris Folland (Districts 1, 2 & 3); Rock County farmer Jim Willers (District 7); Trebesch (District 8) and Dover farmer Benjamin Storm (District 9) were all re-elected. Pope County farmer Paul Freeman, long an agricultural leader in Minnesota, was elected as the new District 4 representative. Freeman replaces longtime Council Director Jim Call, who retired after more than 20 years on the Council.

Serbus said he’s eager to hit the ground running and visit with producers, as the Council starts to hold more in-person events, including the upcoming Farmfest (Aug. 3-5).

“Soybeans raised in Minnesota are a quality product, which I am proud to help promote,” Serbus said, adding, “This is an exciting time for our industry, and I’m looking forward to the year ahead as we continue on our mission to promote our crop and improve farmer profitability.”

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