Corn & Soybean Growers hear some ag predictions; laugh a lot

Francis Svoboda, left, past president of the McLeod County Corn and Soybean Growers, received a plaque from current president Brian Thalmann.

The McLeod County Corn and Soybean Growers Association held its 30th annual banquet and ag appreciation night at the Pla-Mor Ballroom in Glencoe and heard a combination of some predictions about agriculture from Al Kluis along with laughing so hard at Dick Jonckowski’s jokes that their faces hurt.
The county group also honored one of their own when it presented a plaque to Francis Svoboda, a long-time board member and president, who stepped down. New president is Brian Thalmann.
Elections were held prior to the banquet, and the other officers for 2014 include Bob Lindemann, Larry Ide, Steve Reiner, Nathan Winter, Dave Resch, Myron Oftedahl, Wayne Ahlbrecht, Mark Johnson, Ryan Mackenthun, and Rich Reiner, the latter two are newly elected.
Beside Svoboda, also leaving the board was Brian Jungclaus, who could not attend the banquet.
The association also honored two groups as being Friends of Agriculture: the Hutchinson Ag Business Community and the Glencoe Area Chamber of Commerce.
Kluis, the guest speaker, is an ag commodity trader, analyst and broker. He gave his thoughts on changes in ag and what he thinks the future might hold.
The Slayton native and graduate of the University of Minnesota Ag School said Wall Street is beginning to pour money back into agriculture again.
He said the economic chaos in Argentina has impacted global markets, and China’s insatiable appetite for soybeans continues to drive demand globally.
But Kleis cautioned that the trend is down for corn and soybeans since the high prices of 2012. Last year started the trend, and 2014 appears to continue the trend, he predicted.
Weather was good for McLeod County and central Minnesota last year, “but it’s a new game every year. Stay consistent,” Kluis cautioned. Buy crop insurance and get a good chunk of this year’s crop hedged, he added.
Kluis predicted margins will be thin in 2014, “so planning and executing are more important than ever.”
He also cautioned “be patient and disciplined” in executing a plan.
Kluis was positive in the long-term despite a couple of years of lower prices and profits. He said the lower profits in 2013 and 2014 also impact land prices.
“But don’t get too negative,” he warned.
There was nothing negative about Jonckowski, the night’s entertainment, as the rattled off joke after joke about everything from his Polish heritage to Star Tribune columnist Sid Hartman.
Jonckowski also is a “Voice of the Gophers” at basketball and baseball games and has handled the public address duties since 1986. He was inducted into the Minnesota Basketball Coaches Hall of Fame as a broadcaster.
Jonckowski also has announced high school all-star games since 1975 and does the announcing at the American Legion World Series since 1998.
As he kept the laughter rolling, Jonckowski added, “Laughter is so important; I love to see people happy.”