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  • Eggs & Issues recap – Facing the future together: Energy and ag

  • Eggs & Issues recap – Facing the future together: Energy and ag

    Eggs & Issues recap – Facing the future together: Energy and ag

    On April 11, The Chamber’s Eggs & Issues series welcomed the business community to learn about and discuss recent history and trends of agriculture and energy. For the states of Minnesota and North Dakota, agriculture and energy are essential, defining sectors that power our states. With spring right around the corner, what better time to dive into agriculture and discuss what can be expected in the coming months?

    To open the event, Shawn Paschke with Excel Energy announced and celebrated event sponsors, highlighted Ignite FMWF and previewed some upcoming Chamber events. If you’re looking for your next Chamber event, you can browse events here! When selecting this event’s speakers, The Chamber events team selected four agriculture and energy experts to share their knowledge with the Fargo Moorhead West Fargo business community:

    • Matt Herman, Sr. Director of Renewable Products Marketing, Iowa Soybean Association 

    • Mike Keller, President, Green Bison Soy Processing 

    • Monte Peterson, U.S. Soybean Industry Expert 

    • Dr. Greg Lardy, Vice President of Agricultural Affairs, NDSU (Panel Moderator) 

    Before looking ahead to the future of agriculture and energy, panelists first provided discussion around these industries’ past and present states, recurring trends and impacts left on Minn. and N.D. 

    Panelists shared their thoughts on the current economic climate for the agricultural and renewable energy industries. “We’ve had some pretty good success as of late because of higher commodity prices. Overall, there is a lot of optimism about this adding value to what we’re growing here,” Peterson explained. “Any time that we add value, we are bringing more dollars into the community and those are exciting times - not only for farmers, but community-wide also.” 

    Members of the panel also provided insight into the challenges and opportunities Minn. and N.D. could potentially face down the road. “We’re going to have the challenge and the opportunity, really, to do a lot more regionally focused projects and infrastructure development,” said Herman. “These are the types of projects we are absolutely going to need. We are going to need more energy infrastructure projects that cross state lines in the next 5-10 years, and I think that’s going to be a really big challenge.”  

    In terms of the increasing demand for soybean production in the region and across the United States, panelists provided insight into the vast opportunity that our states have to expand their markets and fully utilize this product. Keller specifically spoke on the breakdown of soybeans and how they can be utilized for both agriculture and energy in the forms of food production and fuel production.  


    This moved the conversation along to the idea of convergence, whereas the agricultural and electrical industries can work together to fully utilize soybeans for the better of our communities. “I think that there’s a huge opportunity to work together,” Herman claimed. “We can have significant demand destruction in pools like diesel fuel or gasoline, either from efficiency or electrification and we still have a lot of room to run in the market.” 

    Panel moderator, Dr. Lardy, also spoke to NDSU’s role within the agriculture industry, stating, “I would view us as the research and development arm for the state’s agricultural industry. Our research mission and our extension mission really do strive to help farmers investigate new crops. We’re really focused on making sure we’re meeting that Land Grant mission and bringing those industries together.” NDSU’s commitment to its community shines through its research and work for local farmers, as well as its efforts to prepare young adults to join the workforce and help build the future of agriculture and energy. 

    Each speaker came from different places with different backgrounds and a variety of knowledge, but they all agree on the same concept: Energy and ag should work together. Thank you to our community and business leaders who participated in and attended this event.  

    Are you interested in hearing more conversations like this? Check out our Midwest Agriculture Summit happening on June 6! 


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