The council typically meets three times a year.

    1. Summer meeting (typically held in August)
    2. Winter meeting (typically held during the Minnesota Crop Retailers Trade Show in December)
    3. January (typically held the first Friday in January)

    Next meeting 

    • January 12, 2024
      Minnesota Farm Bureau headquarters in Eagan, Minnesota

    Past meeting minutes

    Listed below are the most recent meeting minutes approved by the Agricultural Fertilizer Research and Education Council (AFREC). The posting of minutes is slightly delayed. Meeting minutes from a given meeting are typically reviewed and approved at the next AFREC meeting.

    Members attending: Mark Jossund, Mark Bloomquist, Paul Gray, Bev Durgan, Jeff Kosek, Steve Comerford, Gary Preschar, Kevin Kruise, Grant Anderson, Bob Lindemann, Bryce Nelson, Ryan Kelbrants, Dan Benson, Keith Allen, Patrick Murray

    Others attending: Dave Grafstrom, Jack Wilcox, Lindsey Pease, Paul McDivit, Bruce Montgomery, Carl Rosen, Maciej Kazula, Dan Kaiser, Paulo Pagliari, Melissa Wilson

    MDA staff: Margaret Wagner, Russ Derickson

    Grant Anderson opened the meeting at 9:03 am followed by introductions.

    Bruce Montgomery reviewed AFREC account balance and 2023 grant requests with options.

    • roll unfunded dollars into next grant cycle
    • issue 2nd RFP
    • alternate 2nd RFP with generic ideas
    • fund projects to completion
    • no  “on-farm” projects
    • additional Economic Analysis on AFREC programming

    Technical peer review team: Heidi Peterson, Dan Froehlich, Jeppe Kiersgaard, Maciej Kazula

     Bruce provided comments from the Peer review team on all 5 new projects submitted.

    New project presentations

    • Dave Grafstrom
    • Melissa Wilson
    • Carl Rosen
    • Paulo Paliari
    • Lindsey Pease

    Pat Murray MCPR

    Update date on reauthorization of AFREC legislation

    • Funding expires in 2024
    • Council spending authority ends in 2025
    • 57 new legislators this year
    • Has been meeting with rank & file members as well as committee chairs
    • Asked Sen. Putnum for informational hearing on AFREC
      • Provided additional information per Putnum request

    Member groups (Corn Growers, Soybean Growers, Sugar beet Growers) relayed their positions on AFREC Reauthorization

    Bruce Montgomery provided a project update as Research/Outreach Coordinator

    • Aug 16 & 17 will be the Summer AFREC meeting in Westport, MN area

    AFREC Project Voting

    Motion by Keith Allen, second by Paul Gray to fund project ‘P” for 1 year at $40,000, motion passed.

    Motion by Paul Gray, second by Kevin Kruise to fund all 2022 continuation projects as presented for 1 year and project “N“ for 1 year at $71,862, motion passed.

    Table from: Sorted Allocation Worksheet-Jan2023.xlsx

      Temp ID  





     $           83,177



     $           40,000



     $           40,000



     $           59,310



        See motion



     $           62,441



     $           25,563



     $        160,000



     $        109,620



     $           50,600



     $           14,465



     $           31,934



     $        118,964



     $           16,882



     $           40,336



    other motion



     $           11,614



     $           67,585



     $           43,753



     $           30,000

    Members attending:  Mark Bloomquist, Paul Gray, Steve Commerford, , Grant Anderson, Bryce Nelson, Ryan Kelbrants, Patrick Murray, Jeff Pagel, Rodney Moe

    Others attending: Michael Schmitt, Jack Wilcox, Tamara Benjamin, Paul McDivitt, Bruce Montgomery, Maciej Kazula, Dan Kaiser, Fabian Fernandez and Yuxin Miao

    MDA staff: Margaret Wagner

    August 16th

    Grant Anderson opened the meeting followed by introductions

    Research updates

    1. Fabian Fernandez (Coordinated Educational Program for Nutrient Management in Minnesota; Long term Impacts of Nitrogen Fertilization on Corn Production, Soils, and Nitrogen Cycling Processes in Minnesota; Long Term Drainage, Tillage and Crop Residue Impacts on Corn N Use Efficiency and Soil Health)

    2. Yuxin Miao (Developing Decision Support Tools for Precision Nitrogen Management of Corn)

    MDA update

    Funding level for the upcoming RFP is estimated at $1.35 million.

    Review Draft Legislative Flyer/ Report

    • A draft promotional handout developed by Paul McDivitt was reviewed and discussed. Suggestions were made including the development of a one-page condensed version. We discussed trying to have briefing-type materials ready to go this fall including some simple messaging for all of us to use when communicating with decisionmakers.
    • Components of a more detailed informational report were discussed by Bruce. The intent of this report is to provide facts and figures into the promotional materials. It will also serve as historical documentation of AFREC’s timeline, funding, and projects.
    • Opportunities for further review of promotional materials will be shared with council members via email

    Legislative update

    • Discussed upcoming expiration in legislative language- will need an extension this session
      • MDA’s authority to collect the 40 cents/ton is currently scheduled to sunset June 30, 2024 and the Council is currently scheduled to sunset June 30, 2025
    • A legislative planning meeting with the Commissioner and MDA staff is currently being scheduled for either October or November (Margaret).
    • Patrick Murray provided an excellent overview of the legislative process. There was discussion on how to use the legislative expertise from the ag groups. It was decided that his would be discussed at the planning meeting scheduled with the Commissioner.
    • All eleven organizations plus ex officio (Bean Industry) have indicated that they support the continuation of the AFREC program and keeping the fee at $0.40 /ton. A draft letter has been developed for all the organizations to sign. We will circulate that document once we figure out the most efficient way to get signatures, and include it in AFREC’s legislative handout .
    • There was discussion about our recommendations regarding the duration of the next extension. Historically, they have ranged from 5-10 years. The question came up on whether it could be eliminated completely.

    Research Update

    Dan Kaiser (Understanding Mechanisms of Sulfur Cycling in Minnesota Soils and Availability from Fertilizer; Fine Tuning Sulfur Guidelines for Alfalfa; Timing of K Application for Corn and Soybean Production; Sulfur Placements’ Impacts on Corn Hybrids Grown in a two-year corn-soybean Rotation)

    Sharing Research Priorities

    • Target date for posting the RFP in the State Register---mid-September (MDA staff).
    • With funds available and assuming all Continuations are funded at the proposed levels, $476,000 could be available for new projects.
    • Many ideas were shared by the Council and the UMN staff. The draft RFP will be developed and shared for comments/approval over the next several weeks (Margaret Wagner and Bruce Montgomery).
    • There was discussion about potentially limiting the number of new projects this funding cycle due to the uncertainty of the legislative extension. The general feeling was that there will be time to adjust spending amounts during the next funding cycle in case the legislation does not get an extension.

    Business meeting

    ELECTIONS: Grant Anderson was reelected as Chair; Kevin Kruize as Vice Chair and Steve Commerford as Secretary. Bryce Nelson was newly elected as the Treasurer to replace Keith Allen (Motion by Steve Commerford and second by Jeff Pagel)

    Other business

    Council members (Grant Anderson, Mark Bloomquist, Rodney Moe and Patrick Murray) and Margaret Wagner participated in filmed interviews with Extension staff. This will be a companion video to the one previously made featuring various UMN staff highlighting the value of the AFREC program. These videos will be available on the AFREC website in the future.


    Dates for the upcoming meetings: December 12, 2023 and January 12, 2024. We will check with Farm Bureau on the availability of their conference room for both dates. Please note that this is a week later than normal so mark your calendars.

    It was decided that the location for the 2024 Summer Meetings will be in the Twin Cities area. A likely location for the conference day would be the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum and the tours would include research plots on the UM St. Paul Campus. Dates in August will be determined via the polling process (Russ). Bruce will work with Mike Schmitt and others at the UMN to develop the agenda.

    Meeting adjourned at 3:30 PM