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MDA Issues Covid-19 Vaccination Update for Ag Sector

COVID-19 vaccinations are now being administered to employees in the agricultural, manufacturing, food services, and food processing sectors. The Minnesota Department of Agriculture has issued a bulletin to agriculture sector employers with advice on workforce vaccination. Individuals can connect directly to vaccination opportunities via the Covid-19 Vaccine Connector or by calling the Covid Vaccine Connector Hotline at 1-833-431-2053.

Agronomic Standards and Seed Certification Handbook Updated

We encourage MCIA members who participate in our seed certification programs to download the recently updated Agronomic Seed Certification Standards and Seed Certification Handbook. Note that Festulolium and hybrid rye standards have been approved by the MCIA Board of Directors. Revisions to hemp and sod quality seed standards were also approved. Other key changes include, but are not limited to, reformatting standards for consistency, merging information into one document, and clarifying requirements on interagency certification.

These and other MCIA documents can be accessed via the Client Resources page of this website. You’ll find Seed Certification Program documents listed there under the Certification Services header.

If you have questions about the changes or if you would like to request printed copies of the Standards or Handbook, please contact the MCIA office at or call 800-510-6242.

MCIA Seeks Administration and Certification Assistant

Minnesota Crop Improvement Association is seeking qualified candidates for the position of Administration and Certification Assistant. This full-time position offers a competitive salary and full benefits. This position is located at MCIA’s main office on the St. Paul campus of the University of Minnesota Twin Cities. For more information, read the full position announcement on our job openings page.

Job Opportunity for Seed Lab Technician

Minnesota Crop Improvement Association is seeking qualified candidates for the position of Seed Lab Technician. This full-time position offers a competitive salary and full benefits. MCIA’s Seed Laboratory operates out of MCIA’s main office on the St. Paul campus of the University of Minnesota Twin Cities. For more information, read the full position announcement on our job openings page

MCIA Presents Annual Awards

On January 13, 2021, Minnesota Crop Improvement Association presented its highest honor, the Achievement in Crop Improvement Award, to Dr. Don Wyse, Professor of Agronomy and Plant Genetics at the University of Minnesota. The award, presented annually since 1972, recognizes exemplary service to the seed industry as well as outstanding leadership in agriculture. Dr. Wyse has made significant contributions to grass seed production and is a well-respected teacher, researcher, and leader.

MCIA also recognized four Premier Seedsman awardees, Bob Ehlers of Elbow Lake, Clyde Kringlen of McIntosh, and Dean Terning and Dennis Terning of Cokato. Each year since 1928, MCIA has presented this award to recognize individuals or partners involved in quality seed production, active in MCIA, and who provide excellent service to the seed industry. University of Minnesota research scientist Donn Vellekson and veteran MCIA field inspector Randy Krzmarzick were the recipients of MCIA’s Honorary Premier Seedsman Award, which recognizes individuals not directly involved in seed production but who have actively supported the seed industry, MCIA, and their local community. MCIA has presented this award annually since 1930.

The awards were presented at the Minnesota Crop Improvement Association’s 118th Annual Meeting. The virtual event was hosted at MCIA’s office in St. Paul, Minnesota, January 13, 2021.

Achievement in Crop Improvement Award

Donald Wyse, Department of Agronomy and Plant Genetics, University of Minnesota, looking at intermediate wheat grass, a perennial. Photo by David L. Hansen. © Regents of the University of Minnesota.

Dr. Don Wyse, University of Minnesota, professor and researcher, came to Minnesota in 1974 to accept a weed scientist position. The focus of his work quickly became quackgrass control in Kentucky bluegrass. Thus began a 45-year relationship with the grass seed producers in northern Minnesota. His work has been a key part in the success of the grass seed industry in Minnesota but has also benefited others in agriculture. He is a well-respected teacher, researcher, and leader. Don has taken the collaborative philosophy that helped the grass seed industry succeed and applied it to other initiatives in which he has been involved. Today, through the Forever Green Initiative, his work focuses on Kernza and other perennial and winter annual crops.

Read more about Dr. Wyse’s contributions to northern Minnesota’s grass seed industry here.

Premier Seedsman Awards

Bob Ehlers; Dean (back), Dennis (front), Doris (left) and Tonya Terning (right); Clyde Kringlen. Photos used by permission of the awardees.

Bob Ehlers has been a certified seed producer for 45 years. Today he owns and operates Red River Marketing Company near Elbow Lake. His entry into the seed business was based on the belief that, “Good year or bad, farmers will need quality seed every year.” Today he grows certified wheat and soybean seed. With a degree in agricultural engineering from the University of Minnesota, Bob built his own approved seed conditioning facility in 1994; he was also a partner in building a second seed facility in Thompson, North Dakota. Bob is an active MCIA member, serving as vice chair of the board of directors. He has also been active in various local organizations, including his church and area school board.

Clyde Kringlen has been associated with certified seed since he and his father purchased McIntosh Farm Service in 1981. Operating their MCIA-approved seed facility, he worked with local seed growers conditioning and selling certified wheat, oats, and barley. Over the years, Clyde developed a passion for wheat production and today manages wheat seed production for West Central Ag Services. He sees the value of wheat in the rotation and enjoys seeing the advancements being made in wheat production. Clyde has also served his community in a variety of ways including the McIntosh Fire and Rescue, St. Mary’s Church, and the Larry Sing golf tournament to support ALS research.

Dean and Dennis Terning, of Cokato, grew up in a seed corn producing family. They also grew certified seed of small grains and soybeans, conditioning it in a seed plant built by their father Ralph. The brothers did all the jobs necessary for seed production and learned the importance of quality. In 1985, Dean and Dennis began producing hybrid seed corn for their retail brand, Terning Seeds. Those first two hybrids have grown into a large-scale seed corn production operation. Today they can produce, harvest, and dry seed corn from over 6,000 acres. They continue to work with other local seed companies and say much of their success is due to great employees who take pride in producing high quality seed.

Honorary Premier Seedsman Awards

Donn Vellekson and Randy Krzmarzick. Photos used by permission of the awardees.

Donn Vellekson began working at the University of Minnesota, St. Paul, in 1975. As a research scientist, his career has been devoted to turf grass and forage seed production research. He grew up on a crop and livestock farm near Dawson, Minnesota, and graduated from the University of Minnesota, Crookston. Initially, his work focused on Kentucky bluegrass, timothy, and birdsfoot trefoil. Much of Donn’s work is done at the Magnusson Research Farm near Roseau and today perennial ryegrass is a primary emphasis. Over the years, he has received great cooperation from farmers and seed processors in the Roseau and Lake of the Woods area. Donn’s work on fertility, herbicides, winter hardiness, and seed production has been instrumental in the success of the Minnesota grass seed industry.

Randy Krzmarzick has been a reliable MCIA field inspector for 22 years. From his home farm near Sleepy Eye, he has walked thousands of acres across southwest Minnesota. Inspecting fields of oats, wheat, soybeans, and occasionally corn, Randy is a key part of the seed certification process. Each field must be evaluated prior to harvest for varietal purity, other crops, and weeds. His part-time work provides him the opportunity to meet people from family-owned operations to multinational corporations. As someone who loves the outdoors, he enjoys walking fields and is proud to play a small part in seed production. Randy is also involved in the Brown County Farmers Union, St. Mary’s Church, and the Sleepy Eye area food shelf.

Kelsey Henke Elected to MCIA Board of Directors

The 2021 MCIA Annual Meeting, which was held today, January 13, 2021, included an election to fill four seats on the MCIA Board of Directors. Members re-elected incumbent board members Nancy Ehlke (Category B, University of Minnesota), Nat Forster (Category A, District 3B), and Denise Thiede (Category A, Related Industry). Members also elected Kelsey Henke, of Anderson Seeds, St. Peter, Minnesota, to fill an open board seat for District 3A (Category A).

MCIA Annual Meeting Preview

Please plan to join us the morning of Wednesday, January 13, 2021, for MCIA’s 118th Annual Meeting. This year, due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the meeting will be held virtually, via Zoom. To keep our online time together to a manageable two hours, 9–11 a.m., we have organized a condensed, but informative, meeting program.

During the business meeting segment of the Annual Meeting, we will hear brief organizational and fiscal reports from officers of MCIA’s Board of Directors. We will also hold an election for open seats on the board.

Next, we will be joined by three seed industry experts. Each will give a 20-minute presentation. Andy LaVigne, President and CEO of the American Seed Trade Association, will discuss the state of the industry—highlighting the Covid-19 pandemic and  changes in the political environment. Brent Turnipseed, Manager of the South Dakota State University Seed Lab and Assistant Department Head of Agronomy, Horticulture, & Plant Science at SDSU, will address common issues in seed testing. Denise Thiede will provide an update from the Minnesota Department of Agriculture. Denise is MDA’s Seed, Weed, Hemp, and Biotechnology Section Manager and an MCIA board member.

Invited speakers include Andy LaVigne, Brent Turnipseed, and Denise Thiede.

We will fill out the program with MCIA’s annual award presentations. Don’t miss this opportunity to recognize the contributions and achievements of your seed industry colleagues. We will announce the recipients of the Honorary Premier Seedsman, Premier Seedsman, and the Achievement in Crop Improvement awards.

To register for the meeting, click here. To access meeting documents please visit our Annual Meeting page. If you have any questions about the meeting, please call us at 800-510-6242 or email

Job Opportunity for Seed Technologist

Minnesota Crop Improvement Association is seeking qualified candidates for the position of Seed Technologist. This full-time position offers a competitive salary and full benefits. MCIA’s Seed Laboratory operates out of MCIA’s main office on the campus of the University of Minnesota, Saint Paul. For more information, read the full position announcement on our job openings page.

Seed Laboratory Service Delays

Clients of the MCIA Seed Laboratory may expect some delays in service due to recent Covid-19-related staffing disruptions. If you have questions or concerns about your seed sample, please contact us at 612-625-7766 or MCIA appreciates your patience and cooperation as we adapt our business practices to ensure the health and safety of our staff, while continuing to serve our clients.

MCIA Seed Laboratory Achieves USDA Accreditation

We’re proud to announce that MCIA’s Seed Laboratory is now accredited by the USDA Accredited Seed Laboratory (ASL) program. Gaining ASL accreditation highlights the accuracy, quality, and reliability of test reports and other quality- and compliance-related services offered by MCIA. Successful completion of the rigorous ASL accreditation program is yet another milestone attained by MCIA over the course of our 117-year history.

The development and implementation of a comprehensive Quality Management System was crucial to the Seed Laboratory’s accreditation. “USDA ASL accreditation is the result of months of hard work by our staff and demonstrates our continued commitment to delivering the highest quality services to customers,” said MCIA President and Chief Executive Officer, Dr. Fawad Shah. “This value-added benefit expands business opportunities for our customers and elevates MCIA’s standing as one of the premier seed certification agencies in the nation.”

To read our full press release, click here.