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Bob Worth returns to lead Minnesota Soybean Growers Association

Bob Worth has volunteered as an MSGA director since 2002, serving in various capacities including president, secretary and treasurer. Most recently, Worth was vice president of the MSGA.

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Bob Worth
Contributed by Minnesota Soybean Growers Association
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Bob Worth is back in the saddle again, as the 70-year-old farmer returns as president of the Minnesota Soybean Growers Association.

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 president, secretary and treasurer. Most recently, Worth was vice president under President Mike Skaug, who stepped down after one year leading the association.

Family operation

Worth started farming with his father near Lake Benton in Lincoln County after graduating high school in 1970, and farmed with him until 1981, when his dad decided to retire. He now runs the family farm with his wife, Gail, and their son, Jon, and his family.

“My son and I have been farming together since 1994,” said Worth. “It’s been an exciting ride.”

Worth said that guidance from the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency forced them to stop farming livestock in the mid-'90s, and they now farm just corn and soybeans on about 2,200 acres.

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He said he’s proud the operation continues to be a family one.

“It’s a 100% family operation, and when my son got married, he wanted to move onto the home on the farm, and I thought there was not a better way to do it,” said Worth, who now lives with his wife about a mile away from the farm.

Worth previously served as the MSGA president from 2005-2007, when he said the topic of focus was biodiesel.

“It was all about biodiesel,” he said of his two-year term. “I actually was the president that implemented the 2% biodiesel in August of 2006, so biodiesel has been a huge, huge part of my life all along.”

He said a lot has changed in the farm bill and in state policy since then.

"Fifteen years ago, we took care of soybean issues,” he said. “But today, we're taking care of all issues that pertain to farmers across the whole state. And that's exciting.”

The MSGA under the leadership of Skaug successfully advocated for funding for the Ag Innovation Campus at Crookston during the 2022 Minnesota legislative session, along with protecting the biodiesel mandate.

Worth said the top priority for MSGA under his leadership will still be to protect biofuels.

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“The number one topic is to keep renewable fuels as strong as they are with biodiesel and ethanol,” he said. “And to make sure this administration — and all administrations — understand that we need to keep biodiesel in the forefront.”

Worth said he understands that electric vehicles are probably coming in the future, but biodiesel and ethanol are "proven commodities."

“Why go away from something we know that’s great,” he said of biofuels. “Keep working on electric cars, but don't dump renewable fuels altogether right now.”

A spokesperson for ag

Worth was recently awarded the American Soybean Association’s outstanding volunteer award, and he’s previously served as an ASA director and vice president, in addition to sitting on numerous ASA committees during his years on the board.

“Somebody needs to tell our friends in the city what agriculture is all about,” said Worth. “It used to be that all your grandparents farmed, or your uncles or your parents farmed, and now a lot of people don't even have a clue who was the last person in their family who grew up on a farm.”

Worth said his experience as a veteran farmer will be used to his advantage leading the MSGA.

“One thing you got to know about me is I'm not unwilling to change,” said Worth. “I'm all in favor of doing something new and exciting and beneficial to the soybean farmers or all farmers, but I do have a little experience at what did work and what didn't work, and I'm a good negotiator.”

This year, the MSGA celebrates its 60th anniversary, said Worth, which means a lot to him and others in the organization. He said it all began as a way for farmers to talk about soybeans — which were a new product at the time for the state.

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"We're the longest running state soybean organization," he said. "It's just amazing how we came this far in 60 years."

Noah Fish is a multimedia journalist who creates print, online and TV content for Agweek. He's also the host of the Agweek Podcast.

While covering agriculture he's earned awards for his localized reporting on the 2018 trade war, and breaking news coverage of a fifth-generation dairy farm that was forced to sell its herd when a barn roof collapsed in the winter of 2019. His reporting focuses on the intersection of agriculture, food and culture.

He reports out of Rochester, Minnesota, and can be reached at nfish@agweek.com
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