ISA Selects New Group of Soy Ambassadors for 2014-15


BLOOMINGTON, ILL. -- November 25, 2014 – The Illinois Soybean Association (ISA) announced its new leadership class of Soy Ambassadors today.  The two-year, Illinois soybean checkoff-funded group of seven farmers was chosen so they might each develop qualities that can be channeled toward future soybean leadership roles.


"Our Soy Ambassador Program, now in its fourth year, is important to what ISA hopes to achieve both in the present and in the future," says Bill Raben, soybean farmer from Ridgway, Ill., and ISA chairman. "Participants receive firsthand experience and exposure that can lead to greater leadership positions while they also work on current projects."


The 2014-15 Soy Ambassadors include:

  • Ryan Vance, Onarga, who owns and operates a grain farm in Iroquois County and helps with his family's corn and soybean farm.  Vance has worked within the ag industry throughout his career with companies that include John Deere, Cargill and CGB.  He is a licensed crop insurer and has a degree in agriculture economics from the University of Illinois.  He is co-creator of
  • Tyler Uden, Monticello, is a specialty soybean merchandiser who also oversees marketing and operations of his grandparent's farms in Champaign County and more than 2,000 acres of specialty soybeans in Piatt County.  He has a master's degree in ag economics from the University of Illinois.
  • Elliott Uphoff, Shelbyville, farms with his dad in central Illinois and for the last year, has also managed his own acres full time in Assumption, Ill.  He graduated from Southern Illinois University Carbondale with honors and has been involved with the Shelby County Young Farmer Cultivating Master Farmer Class.
  • Aaron Downs, Moweaqua, is the operations manager for his family farm, which produces seed beans and non-GMO soybean beans.  He has experience with seed beans from growing to processing to packaging.
  • Cory Ritter, Blue Mound, works with his father on a family farm where they grow corn and soybeans.  He is an infield reporter for DTN this year, and has been interviewed about agriculture issues by the New York Times.
  • David Wessel, Chandlerville, operates a family farm with his father, and grows corn, soybeans and hay.  They also have 70 head of commercial Angus cows and do custom hay baling.  He has 27 years of experience producing soybeans.
  • Heath Houck, Nokomis, is co-manager of a fourth-generation family corn and soybean farm.  He also has worked as an agricultural educator and FFA advisor for four years and has been active in Farm Bureau.


ISA recognized its group of 2013-14 Soy Ambassadors as well, thanking them for their participation in the program: Stan Born, Dunlap; Kate Danner, Aledo; Cassandra DeJaynes, LaHarpe; Matthew DeSutter, Woodhull; Frank Legner, Odell; Jenny Mennenga, LeRoy; and Austin Rincker, Moweaqua.


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





Dustin Scott