‘A privilege’: Five Council directors earn reelection

The results are in! With five seats up for reelection, the Minnesota Soybean Research & Promotion Council (MSR&PC) has announced the outcome of the 2023 election.

Bill Zurn (District 1, 2 &3), Patrick O’Leary (District 4), Pat Sullivan (District 5 & 6), Ron Obermoller (District 7) and Rochelle Krusemark (District 8) were all reelected, earning three-year terms beginning July 1.

“I thank Minnesota growers for their support, and I am honored to represent them for another term on the Council,” said Krusemark, who raises soybeans, corn, cover crops, forage grass, custom finish hogs and has a cow-calf beef herd on the family farm in Martin County. “Please contact me if you have any questions, concerns or ideas on how we can invest our checkoff wisely.”

Administered by the Minnesota Department of Agriculture (MDA) on behalf of the Council, nearly 4,000 Minnesota farmers received ballots this election season.

“I’m excited to be reelected and represent northwest Minnesota,” said Zurn, who farms near Callaway and grows soybeans, corn, sugarbeets and wheat. “We have a lot of interesting projects going and we’re excited about the possibilities moving forward.”

In 2023, the Council continues its Driving Soy and Stepping Up promotions via the organized soybean county program. Council leaders are also eager to highlight this summer’s opening of the Ag Innovation Campus crush and research operation in Crookston.

“Representing Minnesota farmers on the Council has been a privilege,” said Obermoller, a Brewster farmer and past chair of the Agricultural Utilization Research Institute. “I believe in the power of soybean farmers working together through the checkoff program to accomplish research for the benefit of all soybean producers.”

The 15 elected farmers that comprise the MSR&PC board 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 toward improving profitability for Minnesota’s approximately 27,000 soybean farmers.

“It’s necessary that we research and develop soybeans that will not only lead to better yields and profitability for the farmer, but also increase the quality of soybeans for our markets,” said O’Leary, a Benson farmer who served as Council chair from 2017-2019. “The wise investment of our checkoff dollars will ensure that Minnesota and the U.S. remain leaders in the soybean industry, keeping our farmers competitive and successful in the global agriculture economy.”

The soybean checkoff is federally mandated by the Soybean Promotion, Research, and Consumer Information Act. Every time a Minnesota soybean farmer sells soybeans, one half of 1% of the market price is checked off. Half of the checkoff is invested by Minnesota, while the other half is directed by the United Soybean Board. Spanning more than 30 years, the soybean checkoff has left a deep fiscal footprint on Minnesota’s – and the nation’s – economy by putting money back into farmers’ pockets. For each dollar soybean farmers pay toward checkoff resources, growers receive an estimated $12.34 in return value.

“The Council plays a large role in addressing future challenges such as marketing, weed, pest and disease management, as well as other issues that affect farmers’ bottom lines,” said Sullivan, who farms in Franklin and currently serves as Council secretary. “Additionally, the Council plays an important part in export markets and opening new markets for our soybeans. As a Council director, I also have an impact on the types of new uses we explore, and ensuring we always look to do impactful work.”

The Council will elect officers at its June board meeting.