BLOOMINGTON, ILL – November 13, 2013 – The Illinois Soybean Association (ISA) will honor five soybean industry leaders in Bloomington, Ill., Nov. 25.
"We are pleased to recognize these leaders, and we thank them for the significant contributions they have made to soybean farmer profitability," says Bill Raben, soybean farmer from Ridgway, Ill., and ISA chairman.  "Their expertise is critical in our effort to reach a goal of using 600 million bushels of Illinois soybeans by 2020."
Honorees are acknowledged in five areas that have an impact on soybean profitability:
  • Excellence in Animal Agriculture -- Bill Johnson, agriculture professor at Joliet Junior College and advisor for students enrolled in agriculture production and management and swine management programs.  ISA awards Excellence in Animal Agriculture to someone who helps ISA increase worldwide consumption of Illinois soybeans and soy products and who assists with retaining and growing Illinois' animal agriculture industry.
  • Excellence in Transportation -- Col. Mark J. Deschenes, district commander for U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Rock Island District.  Since ISA has found partnerships are essential to ensuring a competitive transportation infrastructure, the Excellence in Transportation Award honors someone who helps develop, expand or secure greater efficiencies and transportation opportunities for soybean products. 
  • Excellence in Yield, Composition and Profitability -- Fred Below, Ph.D., University of Illinois plant physiology professor.  ISA works with many professionals who research ways to increase soybean yields and increase profitability.  The Excellence in Yield, Composition and Profitability Award recognizes an individual who identifies, develops and influences production solutions that provide farmers with a competitive edge.
  • Excellence in Freedom to Operate -- Jean Payne, president, Illinois Fertilizer & Chemical Association (IFCA).  The Excellence in Freedom to Operate Award winner is recognized for efforts that help Illinois soybean farmers protect current markets, open new markets or advocate for public policies that eliminate farming roadblocks.
  • Excellence in Leadership -- Tom Jennings, retired director, Illinois Department of Agriculture, Thomas E. Jennings and Associates, Inc.  The Excellence in Leadership Award recognizes the efforts of an individual who goes out of their way to develop and establish a global competitive position for Illinois soybeans and soybean products. 
The Illinois Soybean Association (ISA) represents more than 45,000 soybean farmers in Illinois through the state soybean checkoff and membership efforts.  The checkoff funds market development, soybean production and profitability research, promotion, issues management and analysis, communications and education.  Membership and advocacy efforts support Illinois soybean farmer interests in local areas, Springfield and Washington, D.C.  ISA programs are designed to ensure Illinois soy is the highest quality, most dependable, sustainable and competitive in the global marketplace.  For more information, visit the website
For more information, contact:
Amy Roady