‘Worth’-while: Lake Benton Farmer Reelected Minnesota Soybean Growers Association President

MANKATO – Lincoln County farmer Bob Worth was reelected president of the Minnesota Soybean Growers Association (MSGA) by his farmer peers during the organization’s June board meeting.

“I greatly enjoyed this past year and look forward to another year as president,” Worth said. “I love working with this board and appreciate all the hard work they put in for Minnesota soybean farmers.”

With his reelection, Worth is set to become MSGA’s first president to serve multiple two-year terms. Only John Evans, MSGA’s “Founding Father” who presided from 1962-1967, served as president longer than Worth.

“It’s exciting for me to see where we’ve been and where we’re going,” Worth said. “I can’t wait to see what’s in store for the coming year.”

Worth has farmed for more than 50 years on his family farm in southwest Minnesota. He has volunteered as an MSGA director since 2002, serving in various capacities, including vice president, secretary and treasurer. He also remains active on his county board and has become a national advocate for rural mental health.

Worth started farming with his father and now grows soybeans and corn in Lake Benton alongside his wife, Gail, and their son, Jon, and his family. In 2022, Worth was awarded the American Soybean Association’s (ASA) Outstanding Volunteer Award. Worth previously served as an ASA director and vice president, in addition to sitting on numerous ASA committees during his years on the board. In his capacity as president, Worth and his fellow directors will join Minnesota’s directors on ASA for a July visit to Washington, D.C., to meet with lawmakers. MSGA also plans to return to the nation’s capital in September for Hill Visits.

Wells farmer Darin Johnson was reelected vice president, Rose Wendinger of St. James moved to secretary and Brownton farmer Ryan Mackenthun returns as treasurer.

“I’m honored to once again have the support of my fellow farmers on MSGA,” Johnson said. “It’s been a great experience the past year, and I’m excited to learn more under Bob’s leadership and mentor some of our newer directors.”

Worth has prioritized mentoring younger farmers and is optimistic about the emerging leaders on the officer team, in addition to the nine new directors who have joined MSGA in the past year.

“MSGA is a fantastic organization that is going to be great for years to come,” Worth said. “I really like the new and upcoming leaders that are coming into the mix with new ideas to move this organization to a higher scale.”

During the 2023 Legislative Session, MSGA exceeded expectations by advocating for a grain indemnity fund; helping to raise the ag homestead tax credit to $3.5 million; preventing treated seed regulations; protecting biodiesel and successfully introducing a bill that increases funding for the Minnesota Department of Agriculture’s international trade program. Worth said MSGA will look to build on those successes in 2024.

“We need some of our politicians to understand how important ag is to our state,” Worth said. “We’ve got to keep them educated – the more we can get them on our farms to talk agriculture, the better.”

Redwood County farmer Jeff Sorenson was elected to represent Minnesota on ASA’s board of directors to replace Joel Schreurs, whose third and final ASA term expires in December. Three of MSGA’s seven ASA directors will now hail from Redwood County.

“MSGA has a strong state presence, and I felt that, after being on the board for a few years, I wanted to step up and be an advocate for Minnesota farmers in Washington, D.C.,” said Sorenson, a graduate of ASA Young Leader’s Program. “It will be an honor to represent MSGA in D.C.”

Directors also elected members for MSGA’s governing board. Beyond the elections, directors honored past ASA President and Worthington farmer Bill Gordon; reviewed the organization’s 2023 legislative wins; received a national policy update from ASA and looked ahead to the policy outlook in 2024.

“We’re getting things done in St. Paul and D.C. that are improving farmer profitability,” Worth said. “We’re doing our part in taking care of farmers. That’s what it’s all about.”

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