The Minnesota Soybean Research & Promotion Council (MSR&PC) tabbed Traverse County farmer Tom Frisch as its chair during the organization’s June board meeting. Frisch replaces Bird Island farmer Joe Serbus, who stepped down after two years as chair.
“I’m looking forward to continue working with an amazing group of directors. I know every one of them has the best interests in soybeans at heart,” Frisch said. “I’ve learned a lot serving as vice chair under the leadership of Joe Serbus, and those are some big shoes to fill.”
During his term overseeing the state’s soybean checkoff program, Serbus, who’s served on the Council since 2016, helped oversee the Council’s Driving Soy and Stepping Up campaigns. The statewide promotions received national recognition by promoting the value of soy-based products through charitable donations to Minnesota sheriff’s departments and frontline health care workers.
“It’s been a great run. I want to thank everyone for the past two years and wish Tom all the best as chair,” said Serbus, who will remain on the board and represents the Council on both the Soy Transportation Coalition and the Agricultural Utilization Research Institute. “The Council is in great hands under his leadership.”
Frisch, who was first elected to MSR&PC in 2019, is a fourth-generation farmer and partner in the farming operation alongside his father, two first cousins and his cousin’s son. The family raises soybeans, corn, sunflowers and grapes in Dumont. In addition to working with the family farming operation, Frisch started his own crop consulting business after graduating from North Dakota State University in 2000 with a degree in agriculture economics. Frisch also works part-time for the local cooperative selling seed to area producers and is a longtime volunteer firefighter. Tom and his wife, Dr. Jane Vangsness Frisch, live two miles north of the original Felix Frisch and Son homestead.
“My grandfather prided himself in serving the community that had provided so much for him,” said Frisch, who also sits on the United Soybean Board. “I try to follow the same philosophy.”
Faribault farmer Gail Donkers was elected MSR&PC vice chair. The Council selected Ben Storm as treasurer, while longtime Director Pat Sullivan will again serve as secretary.
“By showing up and being the voice of Minnesota’s soybean farmers, I hope to make a difference for not only our farm, but for all the soybean growers in Minnesota,” said Donkers, who previously served as treasurer.
Earlier this spring, Directors Bill Zurn (District 1, 2 &. 3), Patrick O’Leary (District 4), Sullivan (District 5 & 6), Ron Obermoller (District 7) and Rochelle Krusemark (District 8) were all reelected.
Council directors serve three-year terms, which begin July 1. The Council is charged with directing state soybean checkoff resources toward research, establishing markets and developing value-added uses for soy. During the board meeting, which was held in Baxter, directors received updates from the Ag Innovation Campus, its United Soybean Board directors and discussed goals and checkoff projects for the summer and the 2024 fiscal year.