Today we started the day by commuting to the U of M campus, St. Paul. We received an excellent Meet and Greet with continental breakfast provided by the U of M Extension.

We then had a welcome from Dr. Beverly Durgan who is the Dean of the U of M Extension, where she had a brief dissection of what the extension is about. Next came Dr. Brian Buhr, Dean of the College of Ag, Food, and Natural Resources where he presented how the Ag, Food, and Natural Resources need to work together to get to a common goal.

Dr. Robert Stuper then spoke to us about crop improvements and genome sequencing. He talked about how technology has advanced so much in the last five years.

Dr. Mark Seely talked to us about climate change and how we can’t let politics stand in the way of doing something.

We then walked down the street to the Vet Diagnostic Lab where Dr. Collins and Dr. Rosso gave us an hour of the Lab where we had to be serialized from the outdoor world, this is a place that is used so much for Animal Ag in research on why something is not performing the way it should.

We then finished our session 3, St. Paul, Day 3 with the wrap up, where we shared our thoughts of the past 3 days.

Corey Hanson was nominated Class VIII judge and jury for our class.

We will wait to see all of you in February when we got to D.C.

We just can’t wait to learn more.

Representing the Best Class Ever
Class VIII
Kyle Hemme

Today’s session began with a presentation from MN Farm Bureau President, Kevin Paap. He gave a good overview of lobbying and how to be influential at the capitol. He really emphasized building relationships and trust when working at the legislature.

Most of the day was devoted to meeting with members of the legislature. During this time the MARL program was also on the agenda for the House Ag Finance Committee. Bull Mulso and Mike Liepold presented background on the program. Luke, Yolanda, Heath & Barb also had a chance to testify to the committee on behalf of the program – and they did a fantastic job!!

Mike Liepold gave an overview of the Washington DC Seminar and instruction on what we’ll need to bring how to act and how to get around town.

EQI coaching teams met to develop plans on how to improve EQI testing over the course of MARL.

Paula Mohr presented results from letter to the editor assignment and plans to print two letters in The Farmer magazine.

The St. Paul session banquet was held including a large number of special guests and MARL Alumni State FFA officers presented to the group regarding their recent trip to South Africa. Al Edisen spoke about the new public speaking training program available to rural leaders. Kevin Dahlman, a producer who went through the speaking training gave a presentation about his seed growing business. Bruce Tiffany shared his work on water quality both on his farm and elsewhere with the group.


This morning began with a welcome from Mike Liepold and Bill Mulso. Mike gave and overview of the agenda for the day. Bill explained the process for selecting a new MARL executive director.

The first guest presentation was from Al Withers and Sue Knott with the Minnesota Ag in the classroom program. Our class learned a little about the history of the grogram, received materials including Ag Mags, and participated in some classroom activities developed by the program. Each class, eight members were challenged to hold one ag literacy event in a k-12 classroom before June 2015. I think it’s safe to say I will not be doing the egg activity! ☺

The class then broke up into groups to discuss the assigned readings: USDA Ag Statistics, The EQ Edge and the Art of Focused Conversation.

Commissioner Dave Frederickson and Assistant Commissioner Matt Wohlman presented to the group during lunch. Dave answered issues – related questions from the group.

There were four site visits the group went to after hearing from Dan Pfarr. These sites were: Midtown Global Market, Hmong Village, The Bridge for Youth & Alliance Housing. Following the visits the group debriefed at Mai Village.

Dinner at Mai Village was hosted by AURI Guests and MARL alumni were in attendance and the group had a chance to network & learn more about AURI.

The class finished the day with a tour of the Capitol hosted by Rep. Paul Torkelson, Rep. Jeanne Poppe, Tom Peterson and Rep. Marty Seuffert.