March-April 2021 Soybean Business

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INSIDE Meet the Council candidates Farmers fighting fire Hard-earned hardware

PERMIT 369 Liberty, MO PAID U.S. Postage Non-Profit

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The Minnesota Department of Agriculture holds commodity council elections each spring. Five Minnesota Soybean Research & Promotion Council directors are up for election. Interested candidates need to fill out a candidate biography form and a candidate certification form and return to Minnesota Soybean by Jan. 27, 2021.

Dates to Remember: Jan. 25, 2021

Ballot requests due to Minnesota Soybean office

March 19, 2021

MN Department of Agriculture mails ballots to soybean producers who request ballots or have voted in past soybean elections

April 5, 2021

Last day for ballots to be postmarked

MSR&PC Directors




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For MSR&PC candidate forms or to request a ballot, visit

As of June 1, 2020

Kris Folland Bill Zurn Jim Call Patrick O’Leary Tom Frisch Joe Serbus Pat Sullivan Gene Stoel Jim Willers Ron Obermoller Cole Trebesch Rochelle Krusemark Gail Donkers Glen Groth Ben Storm

P.6 P.10 P.16 P.26 P.28

Dist. 1,2 & 3 Dist. 1,2 & 3 Dist. 4 Dist. 4 Dist. 4 Dist. 5 & 6 Dist. 5 & 6 Dist. 7 Dist. 7 Dist. 7 Dist. 8 Dist. 8 Dist. 8 Dist. 9 Dist. 9

MSR&PC Expiring Director Terms, 2021

With in-person events on pause, Minnesota’s organized soybean counties again stepped up to support their neighbors – and promote soybeans – during a difficult winter.

MSR&PC’s election season, conducted by the Minnesota Department of Agriculture, is underway. Get to know the seven candidates running for the five Council seats in 2021.

Minnesota farmers wear a lot of hats. Many growers stay active and involved in their communities by volunteering with their local fire departments.

The Minnesota Department of Agriculture is adopting the EPA’s registrations for applying dicamba in 2021. Heading into planting season, we highlight what farmers need to know about using dicamba safely.

During the 2021 legislative session, MSGA has advocated against Gov. Walz’s Clean Cars proposal. Take a look at why farmer leaders believe there’s no room for California policies in Minnesota. ABOUT THE COVER In late 2020, Ag Management Solutions, the organization that oversees both MSGA and MSR&PC, compiled a guidebook to assist the Cambodian Aquaculturist Association. The CAA is now using the Association Toolkit as a foundation and reference guide. Photo by Seng Solydeth of ASA/WISHH.

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Minnesota Soybean Growers Association Officers and ASA Directors: OFFICERS Jamie Beyer President Wheaton, MN Traverse County Mike Skaug Vice President Beltrami, MN Polk County Bob Worth Treasurer Lake Benton, MN Lincoln County Darin Johnson Secretary Wells, MN Faribault County


Steve Commerford New Ulm, MN Brown County

Bob Lindemann Brownton, MN McLeod County

Paul Freeman Fergus Falls, MN Pope County

Ryan Mackenthun Brownton, MN McLeod County

Brian Fruechte Verdi, MN Lincoln County Gary Gertz Jasper, MN Rock County Theresia Gillie Hallock, MN Kittson County Tom Grundman Osakis, MN Douglas County

George Goblish Vesta, MN Redwood County

Adam Guetter Wabasso, MN Redwood County

Bill Gordon Worthington, MN Nobles County

Chris Hansen Clarks Grove, MN Freeborn County

Christopher Hill Brewster, MN Jackson County

Corey Hanson Gary, MN Norman County

Jim Kukowski Strathcona, MN Roseau/LOW Counties

Jeremy Hanson Morristown, MN Dakota/Rice Counties

Joel Schreurs Tyler, MN Lincoln County

Jeremiah Hasnedl St Hilaire, MN Pennington/Red Lake County


Matt Heers Owatonna, MN Steele County

Kelli Sorenson Morgan, MN Redwood County


Ray Hewitt Le Sueur, MN Scott/Le Sueur Counties

Ed Arndorfer Willmar, MN Kandiyohi County

Brad Hovel Cannon Falls, MN Goodhue/N. Wabasha Counties

Trevore Brekken Crookston, MN Polk County

Jim Jirava Ogema, MN Becker/Mahnomen Counties

Mark Brown St. James, MN Watonwan County

Christian Lilienthal Arlington, MN Nicollet/Sibley Counties

Steve Brusven Cottonwood, MN Yellow Medicine County

Bruce Nelsen Rose Creek, MN Mower County Keith Nelsen Westbrook, MN Cottonwood County Robert Nelsen Westbrook, MN Murray County Tim Nelson New Richland, MN Waseca County Michael Petefish Claremont, MN Dodge County Nathan Potucek Warren, MN Marshall County Andy Pulk Wannaska, MN Roseau/LOW Counties Jeff Sorenson Morgan, MN Redwood County Tim Rasmussen Fergus Falls Otter Tail/Grant Counties Cal Spronk Edgerton, MN Pipestone County Tim Stelling Osakis, MN Todd County Lawrence Sukalski Fairmont, MN Martin County Doug Toreen Bird Island, MN Renville County Matt Widboom Worthington, MN Nobles County Earl Ziegler Good Thunder, MN Blue Earth County

EDITORIAL STAFF: Editor in Chief Doug Monson Sr. Director of Communications Minnesota Soybean 888-896-9678 Managing Editor Drew Lyon Sr. Manager of Communications Minnesota Soybean 888-896-9678 Art Director Eric Melhorn Funkiture, Inc. CIRCULATION: Soybean Business is published six times a year on behalf of Minnesota Soybean. Comments and suggestions can be submitted to: Minnesota Soybean Growers Association, 151 Saint Andrews Court, Suite 710, Mankato, MN 56001. ADVERTISING Sara Hewitt, Manager of Brand Development and Events 507-995-5208 | 888-896-9678 |

Advertising space reservations can be made by the 15th day of the month prior to publication. In consideration of the acceptance of the advertisement, the agency and the advertiser must, in respect of the contents of the advertisement, indemnify and save the publisher harmless against any expense arising from claims or actions against the publisher because of the publication of the content of the advertisement. Advertisements within this publication contain the opinions and information of the advertisers and do not necessarily reflect the opinions or views of the Minnesota Soybean organizations or affiliated groups.

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Whether you’re dealing with drought, flood, heat or other climate-related stress, the soy checkoff is working behind the scenes to diversify U.S. soybean genetics and increase stress tolerance. We’re looking inside the bean, beyond the bushel and around the world to keep preference for U.S. soy strong. And it’s helping make a valuable impact for soybean farmers like you. See more ways the soy checkoff is maximizing profit opportunities for soybean farmers at

Brought to you by the soy checkoff. ©2018 United Soybean Board. Our Soy Checkoff and the Our Soy Checkoff mark are trademarks of United Soybean Board. All other trademarks are property of their respective owners.

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Letter from the President Dollars make sense One of my favorite reports was published to little fanfare, and you can find it online. It is called the “2020 Economic Contribution Study of Minnesota Agriculture and Forestry.” It was supported in part by the soybean checkoff, courtesy of the Minnesota Soybean Research & Promotion Council. This report features 35 pages of facts related to crop, livestock and forestry production, along with information about processing and other ag-related industries. If you have ever sat around the dinner table, arguing Minnesota’s agriculture impact with non-ag family members, here is your new go-to, know-it-all resource! Fears of corporate farming? Less than 1% of Minnesota’s farms are in a corporation that is not family-led. Minnesota farms aren’t important? Let me introduce you to 17 crops for which Minnesota is a top-three state producer, and here are at least 18 more for which Minnesota is a top-10 state producer. There aren’t enough farmers in this state to make a difference? There are 84,648 Minnesota crop jobs – but add that to livestock, forestry and value-added positions, to make a total of 388,134 part- and full-time positions. It would be better for Minnesota if there wasn’t agriculture. Minnesota agriculture contributes roughly 30 percent of Minnesota’s $330 billion GDP. The biggest surprise, for me, came in the report as it answers the question, “What counties have the greatest value-added contributions from agriculture, forestry and related industries?” The answer? Hennepin, Ramsey and Dakota Counties are the top three, and they house 17% of those part- and full-time positions. Farm families like yours and mine grow food, fuel and fiber in Greater Minnesota, and at harvest it is shipped to more urban areas, with larger workforces, for processing and marketing. Beyond feeding, fueling and clothing folks, I do not often think about the direct impact Minnesota agriculture has on our most-populated counties (just, as I would imagine, our most populated counties likely do not often think about Minnesota agriculture). Nevertheless, we are intricately intertwined and dependent upon each other – one homegrown example that fits the governor’s “One Minnesota” narrative. Right now, changes to Minnesota agriculture are being proposed at a massive, nearly inconceivable scale – state and federal legislation and rules are being developed quickly for vehicles, fuels, inheritance taxes, capital gains taxes, carbon trading and sequestration and regression of Waters of the U.S. definitions. Who represents you in these conversations – you, supporting one-third of the state’s economy, employing folks from Kittson County to Houston County, and everywhere in between? Your membership in the Minnesota Soybean Growers Association means that at least one voice – one coordinated, loud, pushy and insistent voice – will keep legislators and state agency employees informed of the perspective and interests of our soybean farmers. And that, according to reports, happens to be a pretty important part of Minnesota. Jamie Beyer, President, Minnesota Soybean Growers Association

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A good time to give back By Minnesota Soybean staff

The past year has been a difficult stretch for Minnesota’s soybean-organized counties. With the pandemic closing off dozens of county outreach and promotional events, many farmer-led boards took a step back to look at the big picture. The volunteer organizations took proactive measures to address food insecurity in their communities and assist first responders, with the hope that the coming year will be better than the last. Southern Minnesota The Nicollet/Sibley County Corn and Soybean Growers gave back to local food shelves during the holiday season by donating products that contain soybeans. “The opportunity to give back to our community,

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especially during a tough year, means a lot to our board,” County Chair Brett Annexstad said. “It is important to focus on what we can do for others during these times.” While browsing the aisles at the New Ulm Hy-Vee, the board wanted to highlight all the different products that contain soybeans. They purchased around $1,200 worth of soybean products to donate to the St. Peter Area Food Shelf and the Sibley County Food Shelf. “We want everyone to see how our soybeans are being used across the state, and by making the donation, we can show consumers in the community the full cycle of soybeans,” Annexstad said. “Most importantly, this is for a good cause during the holiday season.”

The Murray County Corn and Soybean Growers saw the value of highlighting corn and soybean members in their community by giving each individual a $25 gift certificate to redeem at participating local restaurants.

Indomitus made its final promotional appearance in Minnesota in 2020.

“Restaurants took a huge hit this year, and this was a way to give them support,” Murray County Corn and Soybean Board Chair Chris Opdahl said. “It is important to focus on what we can do for others during these times.” Membership in both the Minnesota Soybean Growers Association (MSGA) and the Minnesota Corn Growers Association (MCGA) is one of the core values of the Murray County Corn and Soybean Growers Board. Murray County supports more MSGA and MCGA members than any other Minnesota county. Established in 1962, MSGA is the nation’s longest-running state soybean advocacy association. “Membership in both organizations is important for advocating at the Capitol for us,” Opdahl said. “Without members, we wouldn’t have the strength to promote policy and combat non-agricultural agendas that would hurt farmers. Therefore, we brought it upon ourselves to say ‘thank you’ to our members because they are truly making a difference.” Local fire and rescue departments in Lincoln County recently received some welcomed support from the Lincoln County Corn and Soybean Growers and their checkoff dollars. Area fire and ambulance departments each received reimbursement funds from the Lincoln County Growers for the purchase of farm rescue equipment. Without local, trained volunteers,

rural communities would face longer response time to their calls for aid. “The fire and ambulance units were very appreciative of the reimbursement funds from our organization,” said Bob Worth, chair of the Lincoln County Corn and Soybean Growers. “It’s important to help our local departments, and there’s no better way to do it by assisting with the purchase of equipment that will help our fellow farmers. Farm safety is crucial to us, and as farmers, we understand accidents happen and we need to have the equipment in our communities to make sure we are prepared for anything.” The Lincoln County board has been a longtime supporter of local first responders. Fire departments throughout the state rely on the support of their residents, communities and organizations to assist in the purchase of new or updated equipment and trucks that enable them to provide the best in rescue and emergency services to their communities. West Central/Northwest Minnesota Douglas County donated to its local 4-H to support the Turkey Trek program. Turkey Trek teaches 4-H'ers about animal production agriculture and how to raise their own turkeys. The Corn and Soybean Growers donation will help purchase feed rations for the turkeys. The Norman County Soybean/Corn Growers and their checkoff dollars supported the Rural Enrichment and Counseling Headquarters (REACH) during the holiday season by donating $500 to help neighbors struggling with hunger. REACH has distributed 127 holiday food baskets to those facing food insecurity in Norman County. The food baskets included a turkey, fresh potatoes, dressing, dinner rolls, cranberry sauce, green beans, gravy mix and a pie.

Norman County Growers make a donation to a local food bank. Continued on page 8

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The baskets also included a gallon of milk thanks to a generous donation from Norman County Farm Bureau. Each family also received a homemade quilt or blanket furnished by individual donors, and gifts to 200 children were provided by residents and businesses of Norman County. The funds donated by the Norman County Growers went toward the purchase of nearly 2,000 turkeys. Corey Hanson, president of the Norman County Soybean/Corn Growers, notes that Minnesota’s soybean and corn farmers play an important role in providing feed for the meat that ends up on families’ tables. Livestock are the No. 1 consumer of corn and soybeans. “The Norman County Soybean & Corn Growers know how important the REACH program is for those facing financial hardship in our communities,” Hanson said. “We want to help those who face food insecurity by providing a hot meal during this holiday season.” The Kittson County Corn and Soybean Growers donated to the Kittson County Holiday Helper program and the Cornerstone Food Pantry in December. They are also promoting biodiesel through signage at their county arena. Marshall County Growers purchased four livestock pens for the Marshall County Fair along with signage, and they

had a 2020 soybean plot and plot tour. The board used checkoff dollars to support local food shelves. “The food shelf program in our county is very important and helpful to those in need,” said Board Treasurer Bill Craig. Polk County has been busy promoting the Ag Innovation Campus (AIC Chair Mike Skaug sits on the Polk County board) and used county dollars to donate to the North Country Food Bank during the holidays. These dollars supported six emergency feeding programs in Polk County. Pennington-Red Lake helped sponsor the Red River Valley Emerging Leadership Program. This program honors an individual or couple in the county each year who are recognized leaders in the community. the Emerging Leadership program encompasses 19 counties in northwest and west central Minnesota. With enhanced leadership skills, the participants can better serve the interests of Greater Minnesota. The Roseau-Lake of the Woods Growers made a recent contribution to the Northwest Community Action Club. The dollars donated made it possible to partner with their local grocery store, and they purchased a total of 48 hams and turkeys.

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Supplying a Growing Soybean Appetite Midwestern farmers enjoyed a tremendous soybean rally in late 2020 and early 2021. The price runup was largely attributed to strong global demand for soybeans. Mustang Seeds CEO Terry Schultz is among the industry leaders who expects the world’s appetite for soy to remain strong. “I am very encouraged about the increase in global demand for soybeans, and quite specifically, the demand that China now has,” Schultz says. “China is rebuilding their hog herd and they’re realizing that they need soybean meal to grow those hogs. We look for this demand to continue for a number of years. That helps us as an industry to put more money into research and development of new and better yielding genetics for growers. We do see a bright future for soybeans in the United States.” Schultz says grower sentiment has changed a lot over the course of the year because commodity prices climbed thanks to those strong export sales. Not only are farmers across the Dakotas and Minnesota planning to plant more soybean acres in 2021, many growers are also opting to enhance their seed purchases to get the most out of their investment. Weather Factor Strong demand for U.S. soy products has driven the spike in soybean prices, but weather in South America is another factor working in the farmer’s favor. Dry conditions in parts of Argentina impacted the size of the Argentine crop. Late harvest in Brazil is pushing global customers to purchase U.S. soybeans later in the marketing year than is typical.

Seed companies like Mustang Seeds sometimes grow seed soybeans in South America to bring back to the U.S. for the coming year. Schultz says that despite some spotty dry conditions in Argentina, Mustang Seeds’ production was largely unscathed. He says Mustang will have the seed necessary to meet the needs of farmers in South Dakota, North Dakota and Minnesota, including XtendFlex®, the new Enlist E3™ lines and even some exclusive non-GMO lines. “Mustang offers a wide range of seed, but the Xtendflex® and Enlist E3™ are the two main platforms that growers are going for,” Schultz explains. “Both of those platforms have three modes of herbicide tolerance. From a weed resistance standpoint, three modes of action are what is preferred so that we do not build up weed resistance. Both Xtendflex® and Enlist E3™ give growers the ability to change up their chemistries.” Giving famers soybean seed options that fit their operations is a hallmark of the Mustang Seeds brand. Schultz says that commitment is vital to help farmers respond to market opportunities. “We are continuing our research and working to bring our exclusive products to our growers as quickly as we can,” Schultz says. “The continued global demand shows that we have a need for increasing productivity in soybeans.” To learn more, visit

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LEADERS OF THE CHECKOFF Council elections give farmers a voice in directing checkoff dollars By Minnesota Soybean staff The Minnesota Soybean Research & Promotion Council (MSR&PC) is holding its annual election this spring. For the past few months, the Council has been seeking candidates to fill five seats. Longtime Council Director Jim Call has decided to step down from his District 4 position when his term expires. MSR&PC directors serve three-year terms, beginning July 1. The 15 elected farmers wisely direct the investments of soybean checkoff money into developing new uses for soybeans, expanding markets, researching new production practices and technologies and promoting the use of soybeans – all with an eye on improving profitability for Minnesota soybean farmers.

“Serving on the Council is rewarding and an important step in directing where soybean checkoff investments go,” MSR&PC Vice Chair and election chair Joe Serbus said. “A larger pool of candidates gives farmers the chance to vote for someone who will give them a voice on checkoff investments. The more the merrier.” Below is a closer look at the candidates running for the Council. The Minnesota Department of Agriculture will mail ballots March 19 to farmers who have voted in past MSR&PC elections or who requested a ballot. Ballots are due back to MDA by April 5. No ballots will be accepted postmarked after April 5.

2021 MN SOYBEAN RESEARCH & PROMOTION COUNCIL ELECTIONS The Minnesota Department of Agriculture holds commodity council elections each spring. Five Minnesota Soybean Research & Promotion Council directors are up for election. Interested candidates need to fill out a candidate biography form and a candidate certification form and return to Minnesota Soybean by Jan. 27, 2021.

MSR&PC Directors


Dates to Remember: Jan. 25, 2021

Ballot requests due to Minnesota Soybean office

March 19, 2021

MN Department of Agriculture mails ballots to soybean producers who request ballots or have voted in past soybean elections

April 5, 2021

Last day for ballots to be postmarked

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For MSR&PC candidate forms or to request a ballot, visit

As of June 1, 2020

Kris Folland Bill Zurn Jim Call Patrick O’Leary Tom Frisch Joe Serbus Pat Sullivan Gene Stoel Jim Willers Ron Obermoller Cole Trebesch Rochelle Krusemark Gail Donkers Glen Groth Ben Storm

Dist. 1,2 & 3 Dist. 1,2 & 3 Dist. 4 Dist. 4 Dist. 4 Dist. 5 & 6 Dist. 5 & 6 Dist. 7 Dist. 7 Dist. 7 Dist. 8 Dist. 8 Dist. 8 Dist. 9 Dist. 9

MSR&PC Expiring Director Terms, 2021

2021 Council elections

District 1, 2 & 3 Kris Folland, Halma, Minn., Kittson County Kris grows soybeans, corn and wheat, raises beef cattle and is a Certified Crop Advisor. He is currently a director with MSR&PC. He also serves on the Farmers Union Oil of Lake Bronson board of directors, the Northern Crops Council, Kittson County Extension Committee board, the Kittson County Soybean Growers board and is a Kittson County 4-H Leader. He previously served on the Farm Service Agency County Committee board and is a member of the Minnesota Soybean Growers, the Minnesota State Cattlemen’s Association and the Minnesota Association of Wheat Growers. On the Council, Kris says: “It has been an honor to serve the soybean growers of Minnesota the past six years, and I am willing to serve another term. I strive to make best use of your checkoff dollars and work on behalf of the soybean producers of Minnesota to research production, innovative uses and promote soybeans and soybean products throughout Minnesota and the world. I love soybeans.”

District 4 Paul Dahlseng, Starbuck, Minn., Pope County Paul grows corn and soybeans and raises beef cattle. He is a board member and plot chairman for the Pope County Corn & Soybean Growers Association, and serves on his church council. He’s a member of MSGA and MCGA. Paul has also been a past District 4 Council representative. On the Council, Paul says: “I wish to serve on the Council because I want to help make Minnesota soybeans more profitable for Minnesota farmers by helping to serve existing demand and increasing future growth by investing in research of new technologies and promoting Minnesota soybeans to sustain and build demand.”

District 4 Mitchell Hufford, Minn., Stevens County Mitchell grows and raises soybeans, corn, wheat, beef cattle and hogs. He’s a member of MSGA, MCGA and the Stevens County Corn Growers Board. On the Council, Mitchell says: “I wish to serve on the Minnesota Soybean Research & Promotion Council to help influence where our checkoff dollars are spent and improve farmer profitability. Serving on the Council will allow me to serve farmers in our region and learn more about where checkoff dollars are invested.”

GROWING AN INDUSTRY The soybean checkoff program was created under the authority of the Soybean Promotion, Research, and Consumer Information Act, which Congress passed in 1990. It became effective on July 9, 1991, when the Soybean Promotion and Research Order was published. After 30 years of investments, the soybean industry contributes a yearly average of $115.8 billion in total economic impact on the U.S. economy. Continued on page 12

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2021 Council elections

District 4 Paul Freeman, Fergus Falls, Minn., Pope County Paul grows corn, soybeans and wheat. He’s a director and former president of MSGA. He’s also a member of Sacred Heart Church and Knights of Columbus; the Upper Mississippi Waterway Association (past chair); and is a representative on the Agriculture Research, Education, Extension and Technology Transfer (AGREET) Oversight Board. Paul is enrolled in the Minnesota Agriculture Water Quality Certification Program (MAWQCP) and serves on the MAWQCP Advisory Board. On the Council, Paul says: “It would be an honor and privilege to serve on the Minnesota Research & Promotion Council and oversee our checkoff dollars for the betterment of the soybean industry. Minnesota agriculture has been blessed with excellent resources to help feed livestock, people and the economy. The best way to maintain the high level of respect farmers

have earned is to be relentless in finding better ways to utilize and improve these resources. I have been on the membership team of Minnesota Soybean Growers Association for several years, serving in leadership opportunities at county, state, federal and international levels. Membership dollars fund MSGA, while it operates off checkoff funds. Both groups provide excellent returns on our investment with different missions. If voted in by my peers, I will work hard to keep the Council at the forefront of research, new opportunities and educating. As I look across the landscape of westcentral Minnesota, there are many empty cow barns and more fields of soybeans. The magic of trading cows for beans is the many new uses of soybeans the Minnesota Soybean Research & Promotion Council has helped find!”

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District 7 Jim Willers, Beaver Creek, Minn., Rock County Jim grows soybeans, corn and alfalfa. He is a current MSR&PC director and is a member of the MSGA, MCGA, the Rock County Agriculture Society and serves on the Minnesota Biodiesel Council and the United Soybean Board. He has been involved in the advancements in biodiesel in Minnesota over the course of the past 20 years. On the Council, Jim says: “Serving Minnesota soybean farmers on the Minnesota Soybean Research & Promotion Council has been a privilege and an honor. Investing checkoff dollars in research and promotion that benefits all soybean farmers and the soybean industry has always been my goal. These investments have been beneficial to the price and growth of the soybean industry. I will work to see that this continues to benefit the soybean industry. Finding new uses for the growing supply of soybeans has always been a challenge that I would like to help solve.”

2021 Council elections

District 8 Cole Trebesch, Springfield, Minn., Brown County Cole raises soybeans, corn, hogs and cattle on his family farm. He is currently MSR&PC chair and previously served as vice chair. Cole is a member of MSGA, MCGA and the St. Johns Evangelical Lutheran Church in Sleepy Eye. He also serves on the Farmward Cooperative Board and is vice chair of the 40 Square Cooperative Solutions Board. On the Council, Cole says: “It has been an honor to serve on the Minnesota Soybean Research & Promotion Council for the past several years, and I would appreciate the opportunity to continue with another term. I believe that the

District 9 Ben Storm, Dover, Minn., Olmsted County collaboration between MSR&PC Ben raises corn, soybeans and hogs and the Minnesota Soybean Growers on his family farm. He is a member Association makes this one of the of Minnesota Farm Bureau, MCGA, leading ag organizations in the state, MSGA, St. Matthews Church and and it is a fun organization to be a the Compeer Financial Nominating part of. We have successfully faced Committee and serves as chair of the many challenges in the past, and will Olmsted/Wabasha Corn and Soybean continue to do so into the future. Growers Association. Storm is also Minnesota Soybean works hard to enrolled in the MAWQCP. help all soybean farmers through On the Council, Ben says: investing in research to improve yield, “I am just finishing my first term quality and environmental issues, as on the Council. It has been a great well as working on improving markets experience, and I have learned a lot at home and around the world. I and would like to continue serving would be honored to continue to serve the farmers in Minnesota.” on the board of directors.”

Follow all the latest news from the soybean checkoff on the Council's social media pages, or by visiting 94% of farmers say they receive their soybean checkoff news from Minnesota Soybean publications

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We never want to need them, but we sure are grateful for them when we do. Volunteer Emergency Medical Service (EMS) professionals comprise almost 87 percent of all fire departments in Minnesota and cover more than 200 square miles when they answer the call. In rural communities, farmers are often the ones answering the sound of a buzzing pager at 3 a.m. to respond to a car accident or heart attack – showing up to serve the people in their communities as first responders during their darkest times of need. 14 - Soybean Business - MARCH - APRIL - 2021

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Part of the community Trevore Brekken, a member of the Minnesota Soybean Growers Board of Directors, joined the Crookston Firefighters Association more than 18 years ago and has never looked back. “I was looking to give back to the community,” says Brekken, who farms near Crookston. “My brother started two years before me, and now my nephew is on the department. It is kind of emotional having my brother and nephew serving with me. You look out for their safety as well as your own.” For Brekken, volunteering as a firefighter is all about helping people, even when a call doesn’t turn out as planned. “It’s not for everybody. I’ve seen stuff I wish I wouldn’t have. But you do the best you can, and you help the people you can,” Brekken says. “Even when the call doesn’t turn out good, you are still helping the family by being there.” As a farmer himself, he understands being hypervigilant when it comes to farm safety because he has witnessed too many accidents in his time as a firefighter. “The simple thing of driving a tractor – people don’t slow down or move over, or their head is buried in their phone,” he says. “We’ve seen an increase in just the number of extractions we’ve had to do in vehicles in the last six years. I used to cut out one a year and now it’s a dozen. People need to look up, and farmers need to be even more aware.” Fire departments, such as the one Brekken serves on, often play an integral role in the community – serving as not only an emergency service, but a community fixture for parades, events and more. Brekken sees his role as more than just fire and medical calls. “The fire department does a toy drop for the kids during our community days, we donate bikes for Night to Unite, we help with Toys for Tots. It’s rewarding to see the smiles on kids’ faces,” he says. Brekken says the volunteer fire family is a unique group. Firefighters look out for each other, other departments and their families. “You’re all there for the same reason. All the people are watching everybody’s back, and there is so much respect there. You can talk to anybody about the call. It’s your other family,” he says. Brekken agrees that more farmers should consider volunteering even if it means working an extra hour or two 16 - Soybean Business - MARCH - APRIL - 2021

in the field because you left for a call. Like many rural departments, the Crookston department struggled to fill their last two open positions, only receiving two applicants. “It gets hard to fill the boots,” he says. All in the family Betsy Jensen didn’t expect her daughter to consider the health care field after graduation, but serving together on the Stephen Volunteer Ambulance Service may have swayed her daughter’s career path. “You have to be 16 to be an Emergency Medical Responder, so Holly’s been on ambulance runs with me since she joined,” Jensen said. “My son, Conner, also served on the ambulance with me too.” Jensen considered becoming an Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) after her father’s death from cancer. Her father also served as a volunteer fireman while Jensen was growing up. “My dad’s cancer diagnosis and handling his care is when I decided I could handle the medical aspect of it,” she says. “Very rarely is serving on the ambulance blood and needles, though.” Jensen and her husband, Brian, own and operate Jensen Seed. The couple sells wheat, sugar beet, barley and soybean seed. Operating a farm and business in their rural community means Jensen often knows the patients she sees in the ambulance. “It’s very fulfilling operating in a small town because you know the patients. I do get phone calls thanking me, or they were told I was the one holding C-spine for the car accident,” she says. “It really is instant gratification knowing who you are helping. I can’t imagine not giving back to the community in this way.” Rural Minnesota requires one in every 34 residents to fill leadership positions compared to the metro area, which is one for every 143 residents, according to the University of Minnesota. Recruiting volunteers to serve is one of the biggest issues facing rural EMS systems. Jensen jokes that she has to get creative with her recruitment techniques. “I usually sucker them in with, ‘You only have to be a driver,’” Jensen says. “Then I turn them into EMTs and make them do all the medical things, and they usually

say, ‘That it isn’t that bad.’” Jensen says that serving on the ambulance service truly is about helping your neighbor even when it can be difficult on your own schedule. “It can be tough – we get an ambulance call on a Friday night, so I get three hours of sleep, wake up and have training for eight hours on Saturday,” Jensen says. “But something always happens that reminds you why you do it in the first place.” The big reward Holding titles of captain for 18 years and chief for six, Pat Sullivan never gave volunteering on the Franklin Fire Department a second thought when he was first approached to join. “My mom and dad were involved in the community – the Lions Club and the civic club. I joined the Jaycees Club,” he says. “The people I was with were the active families in the community. It was normal for me to want to volunteer.” Sullivan is secretary of the Minnesota Soybean Research & Promotion Council, representing Districts 5 and 6. He farms with his family and recently retired from serving as an EMT, but he continues to serve as a volunteer firefighter. “Our roster hasn’t been full for the last five to six years,” Sullivan says. “They don’t think they have the time to do

it, but they do. Nobody has the time, but you can make the time.” Rural fire departments continue to struggle with the rising costs of fire equipment. According to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the U.S. Fire Administration, costs of firefighting equipment have increased more than fivefold in the last 30 years. “Our air packs might be 30 years old, or the bunker gear is out of date because the funds just aren’t there. Our own department has put in for the same FEMA grant five times to update our air packs, but for the rural departments, if we could just get half of what we need,” Sullivan says. “At the end of the day we want to be safe, but someone has to use that equipment to save someone’s life, and they are going to do it because it’s what they have.” Sullivan encourages anyone interested in joining to fill out an application but recognizes the time commitment it takes when someone first joins. New firefighters commit to a time-intensive training schedule when they first join, completing more than 140 hours of Firefighter 1 and Firefighter 2 training. “It is a big-time commitment for the new person coming in, so the initial commitment is fairly large. We beg and plead to anybody who can do it – we need everybody we can,” he says. Sullivan says the sacrifices outweigh the lost free time.

Minnesota farmer Betsy Jensen was inspired to become an EMT after caring for her late father following his cancer diagnosis. Continued on page 18

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Rain, sleet or snow: Robert Roelofs is determined to give back to his community.

Serving his community is what matters: “It’s rewarding when you can do something good, and help people during a rough situation.” ‘Heart and soul’ Most people only consider one area of the EMS system when they join. Not Robert Roelofs. The Blue Earth County farmer became a jack-of-all trades in the firstresponder family, serving as a law enforcement officer, firefighter and EMT. “I was an EMT since college and started working in law 18 - Soybean Business - MARCH - APRIL - 2021

enforcement after graduating from Alexandria Tech,” he says. “I joined the fire department when I moved home after graduation.” Roelofs acknowledges that he saw some of the worst things during his time in uniform as a law enforcement officer, but being the familiar face by serving the area he grew up in made it rewarding, too. “When they see faces they recognize in uniform, they relax. A familiar face helps a lot,” Roelofs says. “It can get tough working in a small town to deal with it all, but if

they know you and who you are, it helps in the moment.” Roelofs retired from his time in law enforcement three years ago but continues to serve as a volunteer firefighter for the Vernon Center Fire Department. He also serves on the Minnesota Farm Bureau Board of Directors, along with his township board and several other committees. “We care about the communities we farm in,” he says. “We want to give back.” In rural areas, local fire departments often have to work together, calling in mutual aid for structure fires, complex or large accidents and more. According to the Minnesota Office of the Legislative Auditor, fire departments respond free of charge to assist other departments as part of mutual aid agreements. “With smaller fire services, we help each other out. We call in mutual aid sometimes for manpower, to haul water. Or we need extra tankers for water since small towns don’t have fire hydrants, or you can’t hook up to one due to failing infrastructure,” Roelofs says. “A pretty good-sized structure fire might need five to eight fire departments to

handle it, and it can be a whole day.” As a farmer himself, Roelofs understands the complexity of agricultural emergency calls. He remembers the Northrop grain elevator explosion in 2018, when 59 different fire departments responded and worked to put out the fire. “I was there for 20 hours in minus-20 weather. It took over 60 hours for the fire to get put out,” he says. He is no stranger to grain elevator fires though. He responded when the grain elevator in his hometown of Vernon Center had an explosion that blew the top off and injured six people. For many small, rural communities, the building that houses the volunteer fire department sits on main street, making it a mainstay in the community for pancake breakfasts, fundraisers and more. “There is good stuff that makes you keep doing it. You care about them, their families and the community,” Roelofs says. “The fire department is part of community pride. When you enter a small town, what does it have – a fire department. They are part of the heart and soul of the community.”

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The Right Stuff

New toolkit is guidebook for Cambodian Aquaculturist Association

A WISHH strategic partner in Cambodia purchased nearly 12,900 metric tons of AGP soybean meal to manufacture floating fish feed. Farmers report the feed, made from U.S. soy, makes the fish grow at unprecedented rates. Photo credit Jim Hershey of ASA/WISHH

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By Shane Frederick

A year ago, no one in the Cambodian government – or anywhere in Southeast Asia, really – had ever heard of the Cambodian Aquaculturist Association (CAA). “Because it didn’t exist,” Jim Hershey said. “Now they represent more than 300 fish farmers and sellers, feed mill operators and other people who are key to aquaculture.” Whether it’s working on policy issues to help farmer members organize and grow a developing market or providing some financial assistance to a fish hatchery that lost nearly all of its stock in last fall’s severe flooding, the start-up association is already organized and engaged, said Hershey, who is the American Soybean Association/World Initiative for Soy in Human Health (ASA/WISHH) chief of party for the USDA-funded Commercialization of Aquaculture for Sustainable Trade (CAST) – Cambodia project. CAST has helped the CAA get started with funding and training. The CAA’s official launch took place on Sept. 22, 2020, and, within two months it had more than 160 members, along with a fervent following

on social media. It also quickly got the attention of Cambodia’s minister of agriculture, who created a fish promotion committee after listening to some of the CAA’s concerns. “It’s happening organically,” Hershey said. “This association is getting involved in all levels of Cambodian aquaculture. It needs to promote the product. The association is helping its members become better at what they do for a living, to be better farmers.” While this organic growth has proven the need and desire for such an organization, there is still much for the CAA and its leadership to learn and build. That’s why WISHH contracted Ag Management Solutions (AMS) of Mankato, Minn., to create an Association Toolkit that the CAA and other burgeoning memberdriven associations can use to get started and stay on task. AMS, which manages the Minnesota Soybean Continued on page 22

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Growers Association and the Minnesota Soybean Research & Promotion Council, among other groups, put together a sevenchapter handbook that covered association start-up, strategic planning, board of directors training, membership development and engagement, communications, industry relations, and understanding of an association and its value. “It’s the secret sauce,” said AMS’s Eric Wenberg, who is the executive director of the Specialty Soya and Grains Alliance. “In a nutshell, our approach and recommendation to associations in newly opened economies is to strongly consider using the business instincts of your board to develop strong financial plans.” Hershey said he likes that term, “secret sauce,” because the Toolkit is very specific to ag- and producer-driven associations. “We knew that we wanted to create an association when we developed the CAST proposal to submit to USDA,” Hershey said in a video interview from his home in Phnom Penh. “That was one strategy among a number of strategies to develop an ag value chain over here. But when you dive in you realize how big the task is.” The goal, Hershey said, is sustainability – of the association. The CAST project, which began in 2018, lasts five years. When that wraps up, the CAA – whose members include fish farmers and buyers, feed mills and other important links in the value chain – needs to be in a position, financially and otherwise, to thrive on its own. “We don’t care if 10 years from now nobody knows what CAST meant,” Hershey said. “But they need to know who the CAA is.” Sharing expertise The Toolkit, which was delivered to WISHH just before the CAA’s official launch event, can help build that foundation and can continue to be a reference guide over time. 22 - Soybean Business - MARCH - APRIL - 2021

Lim Bunny, a Cambodian fish distributor and processor, sees great promise in locally raised fish allowing her to capture better prices for quality fish.

“(The Toolkit) starts with startup, and the men and women who lead CAA have done most of the checklist already,” Hershey said. “They had registered with the local government, worked on the logo, selected the proper title of the organization – stuff like that. “But that checklist is invaluable for somebody starting with a blank page. … It actually was a confidence-booster for CAA because they could look at the checklist and say, ‘Hey, we’re well on our way.’ And, ‘You know, this isn’t such a daunting task, trying to create something from absolute scratch.’” The Association Toolkit was written by the AMS communications staff in conjunction with company executives and other professionals from the various areas, such as membership, training and industry relations. “Our team was excited to share our expertise with WISSH and our friends in Cambodia,” AMS CEO Tom Slunecka said. “Despite these challenging times, AMS continues growing as we enter our fourth year, and it’s encouraging to see other associations validating and seeking out our work.” The CAA is on to strategic planning now, although, like many associations around the world, progress has been slowed or changed by the COVID-19 pandemic. Still, membership is growing, so they’ll be diving into that chapter soon, too, and making sure they tick all the boxes. Since the aquaculture industry doesn’t stop to let a new association catch up, CAA is learning as its growing. People are taking notice, though, and CAA already has scored some big wins. Cambodia’s Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Veng Sakhon

A shipment of soybean meal arrives at AgriMater’s dock in early January. Continued on page 24

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presided over CAA’s inaugural meeting in September. That event also included CAA’s first trade show, linking buyers with sellers, and drew the attention of several media outlets, including the Khmer Times. Media coverage led to almostdaily inquiries about membership over the association’s first couple of months and boosted CAA’s social media presence. “(CAST) manages CAA’s Facebook, and we have a page, too, and do technical training and promote good aquaculture,” Hershey said. “But when people discovered there was a (CAA) page, that’s what the Cambodians gravitated toward. That’s what they wanted to join.” Buyers and sellers After extreme monsoon rains affected several CAA farmermembers, including Phal Veasna in Battambang province, whose nine fish ponds and hatchery station with four fish species were completely flooded, the association decided to 24 - Soybean Business - MARCH - APRIL - 2021

TRADING PARTNERS U.S. exported $63 million in agricultural products to Cambodia in 2019. Soybean meal ($9 million) was the second largest traded commodity, behind distillers grains ($11 million). Cambodia is currently the United States’ 58th largest goods trading partner with $5.9 billion in total (two way) goods traded during 2019.

show leadership and take action to help with personal financial support. On Jan. 5, His Excellency Veng Sakhon observed the manufacturing of U.S. soy-based feeds during a tour

When severe downpours flooded several fish farms and hatcheries, the new Cambodian Aquaculturist Association decided to show leadership and take action, offering personal financial support.

of AgriMaster, the country’s first factory for aquaculture feeds, a CAA member and an ASA/WISHH strategic partner. In 2020, AgriMaster purchased nearly 12,900 metric tons of AGP soybean meal, which was shipped to southeast Asia through the Pacific Northwest. With CAST’s help, CAA also began to facilitate technical training for members at Royal University of Agriculture in Phnom Penh. “Those types of things are new to them, and those are the things CAST does to build the value chain,” Hershey said. “But if the association watches us and figures out how to do it themselves in a Cambodian way and figures out show to raise the money to do it, that’s the goal.” According to WISHH, Cambodia has approximately 46,000 aquaculturalists, as well as 895 community ponds and 309 fish hatcheries and nurseries.

WISHH, which is supported by 23 qualified state soybean boards, including the Minnesota Soybean Research & Promotion Council, as well as the United Soybean Board, is working on aquaculture initiatives in Asia and Africa. Hershey said he envisions AMS’s Association Toolkit will be used in other countries down the line. Back in Cambodia, Hershey said, “The market is served best by a strong association. An association links buyers and sellers. I fully envision a long relationship between Cambodian fish feed operations and U.S. soybean growers and U.S. soy exporters. … We fully expect Cambodia to gain its rightful place in Southeast Asian markets for U.S. soy.”

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Being a good steward What farmers need to know about using dicamba in 2021 By Kaelyn Platz

Director Josh Stamper, the agency will fully investigate In October 2020, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued a statement approving registrations for complaints/allegations of pesticide misuse of state and two over-the-top (OTT) dicamba products — XtendiMax federal laws when provided sufficient information and with VaporGrip Technology and Engenia Herbicide — and filed in writing. In order to safely use dicamba this growing season extended the registration for an additional OTT dicamba Minnesota soybean farmers should be aware of the product, Tavium Plus VaporGrip Technology. following: On the flip side, the approval of these products came Buffers with additional measures to ensure the products are being used correctly and safely while protecting the environment, It is crucial that applicators understand the required buffer distance for each specific field. Take in including non-target plants, animals and other crops not consideration wind, equipment, endangered species and tolerant to dicamba. Following the EPA’s decision, the Minnesota Department other dicamba-sensitive crops surrounding the field, and do not spray if the wind is blowing toward dicambaof Agriculture (MDA) had to consider the rules and sensitive crops and residential areas. regulations of these products and decide whether to Growers should always maintain a 240-foot downward make them more stringent, adopt the registrations as is or buffer between the last treated row and the nearest outright ban the use of the products for Minnesota. downwind field/area edge. Additionally, a 310-foot After much discussion and research, MDA decided to downwind buffer plus a 57-foot buffer on all other sides adopt the EPA’s registrations. “Dicamba is an important tool for combating herbicide- (omnidirectional) of the field must be maintained in areas with listed endangered species. resistant weeds in dicamba-tolerant soybeans,” MDA Mixes Commissioner Thom Petersen said. “However, it’s also Utilizing the correct mixtures is important to the important to limit impacts on neighboring homes, effectiveness of each dicamba product. Each registrant has farms and gardens. It will be necessary for applicators an approved list of tank mix partners and spray nozzles. to understand and follow new label language, including Read each label carefully for more specific information complete record-keeping requirements.” Understanding the complexities and regulations of these to determine the most appropriate combination of pesticides, adjuvants and spray equipment. products are vital to the success of Minnesota soybean Record keeping is required for all tank mixtures on the farmers’ 2021 crop. According to MDA Pesticide and Fertilizer Management application record. Additionally, producers should be sure 26 - Soybean Business - MARCH - APRIL - 2021

the spray system is clean prior to mixing and after application. Cutoff date All three registrants have a cutoff date of June 30; however, Tavium and XtendiMax also have a usage cutoff associated with the growth stage they are in – Tavium, V4 and XtendiMax into R1. Changing label There are a couple of significant label changes to be aware of, from the 2019 labels to the current label. The label requires that the registrants to be used only on dicamba-tolerant soybeans. Another key factor to keep in mind is that a pH-buffering adjuvant is mandatory and copies of receipts for VRAs and DRAs are required for application records. Other label changes include the cutoff and buffer restrictions. Read – and understand – the new product labels before mixing the spray solution. Training requirements Applicators are required to have a valid Minnesota Commercial/Noncommercial Pesticide Applicator License, or a Minnesota Private Pesticide Certification and must complete dicamba-specific training on an annual basis. A training certificate along with the applicator’s license or certification number will be requested by MDA. Looking forward MDA and the Minnesota Soybean Growers Association have invested resources into working with farmer leaders, legislators and company officials, taking the time to understand these products to most effectively assist soybean farmers. As there are many precise details, trainings and requirements for the usage of dicamba, it is important for applicators to study the label.

In 2017, MSGA created its Drift Task Force, the first farmer-led group assembled to examine the data and science behind suspected dicamba damage reports in Minnesota, and find a solution to develop best management practices concerning the use of dicamba in dicambatolerant soybeans in the state. Drift Task Force Chair Bob Worth said the task force will be urging Minnesota’s approximately 28,000 soybean farmers to heed MDA’s requirements and immediately report any suspected dicamba damage. “We really want farmers to keep a close eye on their records this year, because MDA is really going to stress that,” he said. “We’ve been good stewards of this product, and we’re certainly aiming to continue leading on this issue.” Information from this article has summarized points provided by the Minnesota Department of Agriculture.

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Boosting biodiesel MSGA issues rejection of Clean Cars rule By Drew Lyon

Republican and Democratic officials appeared on the second

regulatory energy practices of California to implement

episode of the Minnesota Soybean Growers Association’s Spill

greenhouse gas goals. MSGA believes the Clean Cars

the Beans webinar to discuss their respective stances on Gov.

mandate would leave farmers and agribusiness in regulatory

Walz’s proposed Clean Cars rule. Earlier in the 2021 Legislative

limbo, stunt the environmental progress Minnesota has

Session, MSGA authored a full-throated rejection of the

already made and increase the cost of vehicles for rural


residents. According to Sen. Bill Weber, R-Luverne, who also

Sen. Nick Frentz, DFL-North Mankato, who serves on both

appeared on the webinar, the average price of vehicles could

the agriculture and energy committees, said during the webinar

increase by $1,300 if the rule went into effect, placing the

that Minnesota “should do its share” to reduce carbon emission

burden on low-income Minnesotans.

after failing to reach emission targets the state set in 2007. The

“There is no room in ‘One Minnesota’ for California,”

U.S. is about 4 percent of the world’s population, but accounts

Beyer wrote in her virtual testimony. “Minnesota has been

for about 15 percent of carbon emissions, Frentz said.

a leader in reducing greenhouse gas emissions through our

“I like the debate on what our share is, but the evidence is that we’ve got to do more,” he said. A bipartisan group of legislators in Minnesota agreed to cut emissions by 30 percent by 2025. The state is currently at just 8 percent. According to estimates, the Clean Cars rule would move

own rules and regulations and should remain a leader, not a follower, in this arena.” Biodiesel: An environmental winner In 2018, Minnesota moved to B20 (20 percent biodiesel),

electric vehicles’ share of the total vehicles in the state from 2

retaining its status as a national biofuels leader. Using

percent to 7 percent by 2030.

B20 in the summer months and B5 in the winter already

“We aren’t meeting those goals,” Frentz said. “We’ve got to make a bold move to reduce these emissions.” Frentz challenged MSGA members to look at how Minnesota farmers and biofuels producers can be a part of reducing emissions. “That’s what I went MSGA members to look for – the ‘sweet

equates to removing the emissions from nearly 230,000 vehicles from Minnesota roads each year. Weber criticized the Walz administration and the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency for bypassing the legislative process in proposing the Clean Cars rule. Frentz conceded the

spot,’” Frentz said. “We want the next generation to be MSGA

rule likely wouldn’t pass both chambers of the Legislature.

members. … Younger Minnesotans are more interested in

Fourteen states have already adopted a Clean Cars rule.

climate change issues.”

“I think rulemaking is being misused by the governor and

Leaders, not followers

the (MPCA),” said Weber, vice chair of the Environment and

MSGA opposes the proposal as it currently stands. In January,

Natural Resources Policy and Legacy Finance Committee.

MSGA President Jamie Beyer testified against the proposal

“Using rulemaking to implement policy changes is a dangerous

to lawmakers, arguing that Minnesota should not adopt the


28 - Soybean Business - MARCH - APRIL - 2021

The two legislators did reach a bipartisan agreement. Frentz said an “all of the above” energy approach is best for Minnesotans, and Weber concurred. “The reality is our entire energy picture needs to be a

company will pass on any additional regulatory costs to the customer. “They’re going to continue to make diesel trucks because they recognize that’s what going to be needed in that space, and

combination of everything,” said Weber, whose district in far

they just don’t have the electric power training to get it done,”

southwestern Minnesota is home to the most wind towers in

Herman said.

the state. “We need to remember that (energy) reliability is key.” Overlooking biofuels Matt Herman, director of environmental science at the

Herman warned electric cars in Minnesota will have difficultly enduring the winter months – a roadblock he said MPCA will need to address, along with additional infrastructure upgrades. “We know that electric vehicles can lose between 40 and 70

National Biodiesel Board, opened the hour-long webinar with

percent of their efficiency,” he said. “When I make that car half

a presentation on the differences between the Low Carbon

as efficient, that means it’s twice as dirty going down the road.

Fuel Standard (LCFS) and the Clean Cars rule. The LCFS is a

I think the state really needs to look at what the climatic driving

technology-neutral policy to reduce transportation emissions

patterns are going to be with this rule.”

and takes a more market-based approach; the Clean Cars rule is

Herman said it’s broadly accepted that electric cars will

an aggressive zero-emission standard requiring manufacturers

become more viable in the marketplace but added state and

sell more electric vehicles.

federal governments have used outdated research and underplay

“There are limitations to this program, and it is complex,” Herman said. The webinar arrived on the heels of General Motors’ announced goal to transfer to all electric vehicles. Herman

the role biofuels can play in reducing emissions. “Electric vehicles are coming, and they are a key policy solution,” Herman said, “(but) I do feel like biofuels are being overlooked and aren’t getting the credit they deserve.”

called GM’s declaration “aspirational,” and predicted the


Locally Manufactured in Faribault, MN

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Minnesota farmers put practices into play using MAWQCP’s financial assistance program On the multi-generational Tiffany farms in Redwood Falls, rarely are progressive ideas shot down, especially when the conversation centers around water quality. “That’s the beauty of farming – you can have multiple generations learning from each other and working side by side and respecting what each one is bringing to the table,” said Bruce Tiffany, who farms alongside his 92-year-old father, John, and his son, Matt. “My dad is very interested in making sure that we’re treating the resources the best we can.” Bruce and Matt each operate their own farms, and both are longtime participants in the Minnesota Ag Water Quality Certification Program (MAWQCP). Their philosophies on weed management, water quality and conservation practices are perfectly in sync. “We have a very similar outlook on what we want to see happening on our land,” Matt Tiffany said. “We have a responsibility that what comes on our farm needs to leave our farm in the best situation possible.” John may be the family patriarch, but Matt says his grandfather is open to new and innovative practices. “My grandpa is willing to change and open to looking at things differently,” Matt said. “I’m fortunate to not have anyone saying, ‘You can’t do that.’ I think that’s a big part of how we got to where we are.” The Tiffanys are also recipients of MAWQCP’s Financial Assistance Grant, which is designed to accelerate adoption of on-farm practices that protect Minnesota’s waters. Producers going through the certification process have priority access to an array of financial assistance. The MAWQCP FA grants award up to $5,000 and are available to Minnesota producers already certified or actively seeking certification through the MAWQCP.

Matt Tiffany used his eligible grant funds for cover crops and alternative intakes. This summer, he plans to invest the financial assistance funds into installing a water and control basin to prevent surface erosion. By employing these practices on his farm, everyone wins, Matt said. “I’m benefiting because it’s a more easily farmed field, and my landowner’s soil is healthy,” he said. “And we’re both benefiting because the Department of Agriculture is helping making that happen.” Bruce uses his financial assistance dollars for control basins and strip till. “It’s a neat thing because a farmer can try these practices without financial risks, so instead of converting the whole farm, you can target a field or two fields,” he said. “MDA is helping with that; it’s just good for everyone.” Farmers can contact their local SWCD to apply for MAWQCP certification and then complete a series of steps with local certifiers using a 100 percent site-specific risk-assessment process. By law, all data is kept private, and only by signing a formal release can a farmer’s name be released publicly. After becoming certified, farmers receive a 10-year contract ensuring they will be deemed in compliance with any new water quality laws, an official MAWQCP sign to display on their farm and other benefits developed by local MAWQCP providers. More than 1,000 producers are currently certified in the MAWQCP, covering more than 715,000 certified acres, and implementing more than 2,050 new conservation practices. Gov. Tim Walz set a goal of enrolling 1 million acres in the MAWQCP by 2023. “It’s extremely easy to get signed up,” Matt Tiffany said.

Brought to you by the Minnesota Department of Agriculture 30 - Soybean Business - MARCH - APRIL - 2021

IT’S NOT JUST YOUR LAND. IT’S YOUR LEGACY. The Minnesota Agricultural Water Quality Certification Program rewards farmers like you for what you do best, taking care of your land and its natural resources. To get started and learn more, contact your local soil and water conservation district or go to:

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SALUTING SOY MSGA, Council virtually honor directors and industry luminaries By Drew Lyon Nicollet/Sibley County was awarded Minnesota Soybean's County of the Year.

During the Minnesota Soybean Growers Association’s virtual Annual Meeting in January, both MSGA and the Minnesota Soybean Research & Promotion Council honored farmerleaders, grassroots organized counties and industry luminaries. Congratulations to this year’s winners! Ron Bunjer, MSGA Advocate of the Year MSGA recognized Lincoln County farmer Ron Bunjer, a former director with both MSGA and the American Soybean Association, for his years of service by naming him Advocate

of the Year. Bunjer retired last year after six years as an atlarge director for MSGA but remains a board member of his local Lincoln County Corn and Soybean Growers Association. To learn more about Ron, see page 43. Tom Frisch, MSR&PC Director of the Year The winner of the Council’s Director of the Year award is a true checkoff champion who has helped lead the Council in one of its most promising endeavors. Tom Frisch was elected to the Council in 2018. He first

Ron Bunjer: Advocate of the Year

Houston Engineering/Drew Kessler: Industry Partner of the Year

Tom Frisch: MSR&PC Director of the Year

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Aaron Lorenz: Industry Leader of the Year

became interested in the Council after participating in a 2014 See For Yourself mission to Japan and the Philippines. When he first ran for the Council, Frisch said he wanted to assist his fellow producers “through difficult economic times by being a part of the solution by assisting with identifying new markets and technology to increase profitability.” He has done just that – and more. Since joining the Council, he’s served on Council action teams and has been active in checkoff projects. Frisch has also been a crucial voice for the Ag Innovation Campus, and was elected treasurer of the AIC last fall. Frisch's contributions to the board led to the AIC breaking ground last October. Nicollet/Sibley County, Minnesota Soybean’s County of the Year MSGA is proud to be the only state soybean association with a 40-plus year history of supporting grassroots county boards that volunteer their time to work directly in their communities. The past year was especially difficult at the county level, given the pandemic-related gathering restrictions throughout the state. Many counties were forced to delay their annual meeting and cancel their usual spring, summer, fall and winter events. Still, many of these organized counties stepped up to help their communities when they needed it most, proving that, indeed, we’re all in this together. The Nicollet/Sibley County Corn and Soybean Growers gave back to local food shelves during the holiday season by donating more than $1,000 worth of products that contain soybeans. These donations weren’t unique to 2020 for the Nicollet/Sibley board – they’ve been partnering for years with local food shelves. This county board gives back to their community while also promoting their commodities. Houston Engineering, MSGA’s Industry Partner of the Year In gratitude to this Minnesota company’s longstanding support of the agriculture industry and its sponsorship of MSGA events, the board named Houston Engineering its Industry Partner of the Year. Houston Engineering has been a strong supporter of Soybean Business and MSGA’s main fundraising events, AG EXPO and Biodiesel Open. They’re also a sponsor of MSGA’s new Spill the Beans webinar series and appeared in the first series to discuss alternative practices to buffers. Houston Engineering also partnered with the Minnesota

Soybean Research & Promotion Council on the award-winning WRAPS Handbook. Aaron Lorenz, MSR&PC’s Industry Leader of the Year Aaron Lorenz is an associate professor at the U of Minnesota’s Department of Agronomy and Plant Genetics, with a focus on soybean breeding and genetics. Lorenz’s research on triple null has helped reduce the digestibility for soybeans in livestock, while his research on high oleic has led to an increase in the nutritional value of soybean oil and meal for varieties in Minnesota. His program also leads and develops research on food grade soybeans in Minnesota, and he’s released multiple varieties that are soybean-aphid resistant. Lorenz is involved in national and regional testing, has research nurseries in Puerto Rico and Chile and tests soybean cyst nematode-resistant varieties across Minnesota. Lorenz's university soybean variety development program is the state’s longest running checkoff-funded project sponsored by Council. This research dates back nearly 60 years, when MSGA first requested support for such a research program.

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MSGA members eligible for thousands in SoilWarrior rebates By Drew Lyon Members of the Minnesota Soybean Growers Association now have an extra incentive to join the nation’s longest-running state soybean advocacy organization. Active MSGA members are now eligible for up to $5,000 in rebates with the purchase of a new SoilWarrior from Environmental Tillage Systems. “The SoilWarrrior is the product our company was founded on,” ETS Marketing Director Caitlin Keck said. “It’s our bread and butter, and we’re pleased to offer this benefit to (MSGA) members.” ETS made its first commercial sale of SoilWarrior, a strip tillage application system, in 2004. Based in Minnesota, ETS now sells its SoilWarrior throughout the U.S. and Canada. Keck says the SoilWarrior’s longevity and superior customer service (she estimates about 75 percent of the company’s employees have direct ties to farming) make all the difference for farming customers. “Our durability sets us apart from our competitors,” Keck said. “We’re able to do this with a limited staff because our machine is so durable. Farmers are surprised to see when they run it that there’s not as much as maintenance and repair compared to other tillage equipment.” On its website,, ETS has a comprehensive list of both new and built-to-order used equipment for sale. Interested growers can also schedule a free demo with an area sales manager. “We pride ourselves on understating our customer and working closely with every farmer to understand their needs and build the machine that best fits for their farm,” Keck said. “It’s not just an off-the-shelf product. Aside from it being built to order, the SoilWarrior is an all-in-one solution for tillage and nutrient placements.” Greg Entinger, who grows corn and soybeans in New 34 - Soybean Business - MARCH - APRIL - 2021

Prague, first used his SoilWarrior in the fall of 2014. He practiced conventional tillage but decided strip tillage was his “best bet.” Entinger credits his SoilWarrior with improving the soil health and yields on his Le Sueur County operation. “You’re going to see the benefits (of SoilWarrior),” Entinger said. The $5,000 rebate is available to new equipment purchases valued at $200,000 or more, while MSGA members are eligible for a $2,500 rebate for new SoilWarrior equipment valued between $100,000 and $199,000. An MSGA membership essentially pays for itself through legislative wins that improve farmer profitability, To learn more about purchasing a SoilWarrior as part of an MSGA membership, contact ETS Regional Sales Manager Dave Sender at 651-497-4407 or

said MSGA Treasurer Bob Worth, who leads the organization’s membership outreach program. But the ability to receive thousands in savings from ETS is an added bonus. “We appreciate Environmental Tillage Systems partnering with MSGA to offer quality tillage equipment to our members,” Worth said. “Once again, we’re showing that it pays to join MSGA.” WAIT, THERE’S MORE! MSGA members are also eligible for a 20% discount with the purchase of Okabashi sandals, which are made with soybeans grown in the U.S. To join MSGA, visit

BEANBRIEFS Soybean Business, MSR&PC win agri-marketing awards

Martin County farmer to serve on United Soybean Board Executive Committee Martin County farmer Rochelle Krusemark was elected to serve on the United Soybean Board’s Executive Committee during the organization’s virtual annual meeting in December 2020. In addition, 19 directors, including Fairmont farmer Lawrence Sukalski, were sworn in for new terms by the USDA. USB leadership, with oversight from USDA, guides the activity of the national soy checkoff in accordance with the strategy outlined by the 78-member board. Krusemark, who was first appointed to USB in 2015, Ag Management Solutions, the Minnesota-based raises soybeans, corn and hogs on her Trimont-based company that oversees both the Minnesota Soybean farm and also works as a crop insurance adjuster. She’s Research & Promotion Council and the Minnesota the Minnesota Soybean Research & Promotion Council’s Soybean Growers Association, earned three Merit awards District 8 representative. Joining Krusemark and Sukalski at the Region 3 Best of 2020 National Agri-Marketing on USB are MSR&PC Directors Gene Stoel (District 7) and Association (NAMA) Awards Ceremony. More than 200 Bill Zurn (District 1, 2 & 3). entries were submitted across the Upper Midwest. A year after taking first place, Soybean Business, MSGA’s official publication, received a Merit award for GET YOUR GRAIN HEAD READY Best Company and Association magazine. Soybean Business submitted three issues for consideration: November-December 2019, May-June 2020 and JulyAugust 2020. The Council was recognized for its comic-book themed Annual Report, marking the fourth straight year the checkoff organization received a regional award S��� S���� R���������� P��� F������ for its fiscal year-in-review booklet. Both MSR&PC and MSGA were awarded for the weekly e-newsletter, Minneline, which is sent to more than 4,000 readers each Thursday. The winning entries were culled from a series of Minnelines published in April 2020, as events moved online and the COVID-19 crisis began severely impacting growers and livestock producers. AMS’s three winning entries will be entered into the A���� T����� L���� 5 F����� Q���� T���� national NAMAs, set to take place July 20-22 in Kansas City, Mo. | 1(320) 587-2322 Made in Hutchinson, MN

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CommoditAg, Mix My Sprayer With the spring planting season on the horizon, we have new suggestions of smartphone applications to help your spring and summer farm work. CommoditAg, a new ecommerce app, provides farmers with a local and direct solution for purchasing agricultural inputs, while Mix My Sprayer helps calculate product combinations used for spraying. Mobile App: CommoditAg Operating system: Android, iOS Price: Free To help save farmers time and money, CommoditAg partners with local retailers of agricultural inputs to offer a comprehensive online marketplace to order chemicals and plant nutrition products directly to your farm, or one of their local fulfillment centers for pick-up. At this time, CommoditAg has six fulfillment centers in Minnesota and boasts a growing list of product suppliers. The smartphone app makes ordering a breeze. Shop by categories such as fertilizers, fungicides, herbicides or lubricants, or use the search bar to find exactly the product needed. Once shopping is finished, users can enter tax exemption documents, order referrals or promo codes before placing the order.

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Mobile App: Mix My Sprayer Operating system: Android, iOS Price: Free When it’s time to calculate product combinations for spraying, leave math to the Mix My Sprayer app. Users select which products they’re using and insert values in the sprayer volume/area, desired mix size and product rate boxes. The app calculates the amount of each product to include in the spray mix. Users can create lists of their favorite products to make it easy to calculate future mixes with that product.


Whether it’s improving soybean meal to outperform the competition or promoting the sustainability of U.S. soy, the soy checkoff has been working behind the scenes to help farmers satisfy their customers’ needs. We’re looking inside the bean, beyond the bushel and around the world to keep preference for U.S. soy strong. And for U.S. soybean farmers like you, the impact is invaluable. See more ways the soy checkoff is maximizing profit opportunities for farmers at

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Austen Germolus, who grew

FACES OFMSGA The Minnesota Soybean Growers Association (MSGA) is the nation’s premier soybean association because farmers and agribusinesses recognize the value their investment in MSGA brings. Here are two examples of Minnesota members who actively promote Minnesota’s soybean industry.

on his family’s fifth generation homestead west of Borup, Minnesota, understands the value of hard work and family roots. “I started farming after college,” he says, “and during that time I held a full-time job at North Dakota State University (NDSU) as a meat lab manager.” After 10 years at NDSU, Germolus started his next adventure selling crop insurance and farming Germolus and his family – wife, Amy and sons Oden, Thorin and Ronan – grow corn, soybeans and wheat and raise cattle. In addition to farming, Germolus serves on the Norman County Corn and Soybean Board. “I wanted to be more involved and work with our area farmers,” he says. Germolus is a member of the Minnesota Soybean Growers Association and recently graduated from the Minnesota Agricultural and Rural Leadership Program (MARL). Germolus has learned the value of having a strong advocating voice at the Capitol. “If you’re putting money into a commodity organization, that money is being used to help improve your price, help improve your relationships with other countries and drive policy,” Germolus says.

Jeff Tank always knew he wanted to be involved in agriculture. Growing up on a farm just outside Cottage Grove, Minnesota, grit and dedication were instilled in Tank at a young age. After graduating from the University of Wisconsin-River Falls, he worked as a research agronomist for a few years. Then an opportunity came knocking that Tank couldn’t turn down. He was offered a position in Dodge County to manage a farm – one of his career aspirations. After moving to Dodge County, Tank became involved in his local community and joined the Dodge County Corn and Soybean Growers Board. “I have been on for 12 years and chairman for 10,” he says. His passion for agriculture helped Tank stay active and led to his involvement in the Minnesota Soybean Growers Association. Tank supports MSGA and wants others to become involved in continued efforts to promote and defend agricultural policy in St. Paul and Washington, D.C. “MSGA can be your voice to stand up for things that affect your livelihood,” he says.

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Honoring Ron Bunjer

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 farmer 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 threeyear 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. “The biggest thing is meeting Ron Bunjer farms in Arco, Minnesota. 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 local scholarships. “If you don’t start at the ground, where do you go?” he said. “You’ve got to have grassroots.”

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