The second day in Crookston started with a little hesitancy as we all got on a bus. Will we get stuck in the mud again? Smiles and fun conversations with each other as we reminisced about the last seminar in Washington D.C. when the bus got stuck in the mud.

The bus trip to East Grand Forks allowed for time to do a reflection activity about what we learned the previous day during our conversations. Eriks led us through the activity using a model based on a person’s fingers. They were:

Pointer finger – What was the main point of the conversation?

Middle finger – What emotion was experienced?

Pinky finger – What was a fun, little fact?

Thumb – What action will you do as a result of the conversation?

Ring finger – What are you going to commit to as a result.

The bus arrived at American Crystal Sugar Refinery for our morning learning endeavor. After a very informational video and discussions with a number of ACSC employees, the class divided into three groups for a plant tour. Class members were amazed at the process and really took a lot away from the experience. MARL Class V alum Tyler Grove helped organize the visit along with Class IX alum Chris Motteberg.

The afternoon started with lunch in the East Grand Forks City Hall. It was followed by informational sessions with City Administrator David Murphy and Brandon Baumbach with the Regional Economic Development organization. The MARL class learned about the inner workings of the city and what they are doing to attract and retain a workforce.

The class then went back to Crookston for a tour of the Sugarbeet Museum. Director and founder Allan Dragseth shared with us the history of how the museum was started and highlighted many of the machines and artifacts.

The final stop on our bus tour was at the Northwest Research and Outreach Center at the U of M Crookston campus. Dr. Albert Sims explained what the center does to advance agriculture. Dr. Sims noted that the center is always careful not to have, or even to appear to have, any bias in research with industry.

Thankfully, the bus ride was uneventful as the tour ended back at the hotel. A quick change of clothes into our professional attire and the class headed back the U of M campus for the Seminar Five banquet. Once again, great conversations and new connections were made with MARL alumni, local business professionals, and University staff. The banquet was kicked off by a moving poem from Olga and leadership insight from MARL Alum Joan Lee, who is the Polk County Commissioner-Chair. University of Minnesota, Crookston Chancellor Dr. Mary Holz-Clause welcomed the audience to campus and highlighted the great things happening on the campus, especially with the agriculture programs. Finally, the keynote speaker was Tom Astrup, the CEO of American Crystal Sugar Company. Tom had a wonderful message about the history of ACSC, the political landscape of the sugar as well as leadership principles.

(Class X pictured with Dr. Holz-Clause, Chancellor UMN Crookston, and Tom Astrup, CEO American Crystal Sugar Company)

On to the next day…

Submitted by Shane Bowyer


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