WHEATON, Minn. – The news in June included an update about Jamie Beyer and the Minnesota Soybean Growers Association (MSGA). She was elected president of the 57-year-old organization, succeeding Michael Petefish, of Claremont, Minn.
On the Minnesota Soybean Research and Promotion side, Cole Trebesch, of Springfield, Minn., is taking on the chairman duties. He follows outgoing chairman Patrick O’Leary, of Benson, Minn.
Jamie served two years as vice president of MSGA before stepping up as president, and she is the third woman to serve in this role.
The MSGA works and lobbies for soybean growers in St. Paul, Minn., and Washington, D.C. Jamie’s priorities include working on legislative issues and building membership. MSGA is already among the largest soybean growers groups in the U.S., but Jamie wants to see many more growers and those in the ag industry join. The cost to join MSGA is $120 per year, or $100 when using a credit card. A three-year membership is $250 and includes at least $100 back in biodiesel coupons.
The membership is a great bargain considering the Minnesota Legislature passed an $80 million tax relief package to agriculture through the School Building Bond Ag Credit, Jamie said. The MSGA helped get the word out about how important tax relief was to farmers.
“We also have a really great and informative quarterly magazine that I think people enjoy whether you’re in ag or outside of ag,” she said. “They also get signed up to receive Minneline, which is our policy update that happens weekly during the Minnesota Session.”
Jamie expects to spend about 20 hours a week in her new position that includes many trips to St. Paul.
Like many farm families with one member who takes on a leadership role, the Beyers are learning to take care of themselves while Jamie is away.
“I don’t question where she’s going or why,” said Rodd. “I just know that everything she’s doing is important. If she needs to go see the Governor today, I’ll try to take care of things at home as best I can.”
If there are crops to spray or farm work to do, Rodd will figure out a way to get things done and also take care of their kids: Aspen, 13, Paige, 11, and Josie, 10.
“I went into this trying to show our daughters what they can do in agriculture,” said Jamie, “but I’m pretty sure our new life this year is going to be ‘two sinks full of dishes’ at all times.”
At the farm northwest of Wheaton, about 2.8 inches of rain was measured in late June. Rodd was happy with his dark green and growing corn stands. Using the rotary hoe seemed to have paid off, because he didn’t need to replant any corn.
The soybeans remained behind average across the region, and iron deficiency chlorosis was beginning to show up. There wasn’t much that could be done for the soybeans until the weather turned less cloudy and temperatures warmed.
The Beyers planted sugarbeets into standing cornstalks, and the crop has not done well this year, Rodd said.
“The growth is so variable,” he said. “Some of the sugarbeets are really good on the high ground, and then in the low areas, it’s like they just came up. They’re really small. Of course that field is on the highway where everyone can see it.”
At the other end of the spectrum, the alfalfa looked fantastic. The second crop grew thick and lush and really fast with all of the rain/cool temperatures. Rodd expected the local dairy that contracted the alfalfa to take a second cutting before the end of June.
The Beyers also have four acres of grapes, and it’s been quite a challenge to grow grapes this year. There was significant winterkill as well as damage from the late frosts this spring. Rodd figured the grapes receive this much winterkill two years out of 20.
Following along via the Internet with N.D. grape growers, Rodd learned many were disheartened because of the extreme winterkill. It sounded like some growers were going to tear up their vines and try planting more winter hardy varieties.
For those vines affected by winterkill, the vines will grow up again in 2020, but there won’t be a crop this year.
Deer damage is more of a problem than ever before, he added. The deer have always eaten some grapes, but the amount was barely noticeable. This year, there seems to be many more deer than normal visiting the vineyard, and the Beyers don’t know why.
Jamie is ready to try something else, although Rodd has two decades invested in the vineyard.
“What would you grow if you had four sandy acres with wires, posts and a little bit of irrigation in west central Minnesota? I don’t think grapes are our answer,” Jamie said.
For readers who would like to make suggestions on what the Beyers could grow, visit Minnesota Farm Guide Facebook to share your ideas.