The Minnesota Soybean Growers Association (MSGA) supports seven directors on the American Soybean Association (ASA), the most in the organization’s history. One of those directors, Jim Kukowksi of Strathcona, was elected to serve on ASA’s Executive Committee during the organization’s December board meeting in St. Louis.
“My heart has always been into promoting soybeans and the overall health of my fellow farmers and our industry,” Kukowski said. “After six years on ASA, I’m eager to step up, walk the walk and be a strong advocate and represent Minnesota on ASA’s Executive Committee. I’m passionate about people and farm policy, and I appreciate the support of my fellow directors.”
Kukowski has farmed for nearly 50 years in his native Roseau County and has served as a director with MSGA since 2008. He currently farms 850 acres of soybeans and wheat. For nearly 30 years, Kukowski has served as a host site for the University of Minnesota’s small grain field trials. Since 2001, he’s operated a seed conditioning facility. An avid conservationist, Kukowski has sat on his local watershed board for nearly 15 years and has been a member of Minnesota’s NRCS Tech Advisory Group for the past 20 years.
In his new role with ASA, Kukowski is looking forward to mentoring younger farmers at the state and national levels.
“I want to show our emerging farmers the ropes on how to be a strong voice for agriculture,” said Kukowski, who’s also a member of his county soybean board. “I’m a big believer in uplifting the next generation and feel it’s important to pass on my knowledge to younger farmers who are just starting in the field.”
Joining Kukowski on ASA are Jamie Beyer, George Goblish, Adam Guetter, Chris Hill, Michael Petefish and Jeff Sorenson. Joel Schreurs termed off ASA during the board meeting, capping a nine-year run as a national director. Schreurs was honored at a dinner for retiring directors.
“I’ve enjoyed my time with ASA,” he said. “It’s been a fun ride, and I think we have some of the best ASA board members from Minnesota that we’ve ever had.”
MSGA President Bob Worth and Executive Director Joe Smentek also attended the board meeting. Josh Gackle of North Dakota was elected ASA president, while Kentucky grower Caleb Ragland will serve as vice president.
MSGA depends on its members to help fund its advocacy mission, and Kukowski is one of the organization’s strongest recruiters. Only about 10% of Minnesota’s 27,000 soybean farmers are active MSGA members. Kukowski urged his fellow soybean producers to join MSGA, the nation’s longest-running state soybean association.
“From tax relief to opening up new markets and defending biodiesel, the return on investment in MSGA is second to none,” Kukowski said. “We are a proactive organization that is a true leader in advocating for farm-related policy in St. Paul and Washington, D.C.”
ASA represents U.S. soybean farmers on domestic and international policy issues important to the soybean industry. ASA has 26 affiliated state associations, including MSGA, representing 30 soybean-producing states and more than 500,000 soybean farmers.