‘A Huge Success’: MSGA Starts New Conversations During Annual Hill Visits

Feb 23, 2024

As the nation’s longest-running state soybean advocacy group, a dozen directors from the Minnesota Soybean Growers Association (MSGA) met with a slew of state legislators for the first time during its annual Hill Visits in St. Paul on Feb. 21. For farmer leaders, the initial conversations offered a platform to explain to legislators the basics on MSGA’s mission and policy priorities.

“Our Hill Visits were a huge success,” MSGA President Bob Worth said. “Not only did we get to see both sides of the aisle a lot, but we got to see people we’d never seen before. We had lots of good feedback through these new conversations.”

In 2024, MSGA is working to build on – and protect – its policy wins from 2023 while continuing to improve the outlook for Minnesota’s 25,000 soybean farmers. And with over 30 one-on-one legislative meetings during its Hill Visits, MSGA spread its messaging to both sides of the aisle.

“We want to thank MSGA for their advocacy and support,” said Andrea Vaubel, Minnesota Department of Agriculture deputy commissioner. “We’re excited to work with you on opportunities at the Port of Duluth and the amazing inroads we’ve made in Morocco.

The push to B100

Biodiesel has been a big-ticket item for MSGA for two decades, beginning with the landmark move to B5 in 2005. This session, MSGA farmer leaders are encouraging any and all biodiesel implementation avenues, including the adoption of B100 (100% biodiesel) in state trucks, especially snowplows, through Optimus Technologies.

“We are drumming up support for B100,” said Jamie Beyer, who represents Minnesota on the American Soybean Association. “Farmers need to be part of the cutting carbon conversation; we’re part of the solution.”

Cities in states surrounding Minnesota have already started upgrading dozens of multi heavy-duty vehicles to B100 (100% biodiesel) to reach net-zero emission goals. Biodiesel is already cutting carbon in Minnesota; if the state wants to meet its environmental goals, it can continue to lead by adopting B100, MSGA Treasurer Ryan Mackenthun told Sen. Bruce Anderson.

“We already have the technology, and it’s reliable,” said Mackenthun, who farms in Brownton. “Biodiesel brings back value to rural Minnesota and our farmers.”

Talking shop

While on the Hill, MSGA highlighted the pressing need to continue addressing deer depredation. Farmers from across the state have reported substantial yield losses and damages totaling tens of thousands of dollars. In 2023, MSGA sought a bill that would assist Minnesota farmers whose operations and feed storage areas have been decimated by deer. Though the legislation didn’t pass, MSGA is continuing to urge legislators and state agencies to find solutions and assist affected operations.

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