BLOOMINGTON, ILL – March 4, 2013 – Two Illinois soybean leaders were honored for their contributions to the American Soybean Association (ASA) at the organization's annual awards program held recently in Kissimmee, Fla.  Lyle Roberts, retired Illinois Soybean Association (ISA) CEO, received the ASA Special Meritorious Service Award, and Kent Hodel, soybean farmer from Metamora, Ill., received the Lifetime Achievement Award -- Membership Focus.

"The ISA Board of Directors nominated Lyle and Kent for these awards because of their many years of dedication and service to Illinois soybean farmers.  On behalf of us all, we congratulate them both," says Bill Wykes, soybean farmer from Yorkville, Ill., and ISA chairman.

Roberts was part of Illinois agriculture for 40 years; more than 25 of those working for Illinois soybean farmers.  The ASA Special Meritorious Service Award recognizes Roberts' many years of dedicated service and advocacy on behalf of soybean farmers.  He participated on the Southern Illinois University College of Agriculture Leadership Board and Illinois Ag in the Classroom Executive Coalition.  Roberts created the World Initiative for Soy in Human Health (WISHH) and was founder of the Council on Food and Agricultural Research.  

Hodel has worked part-time for ISA for more than 20 years doing outreach and education.  He attends community meetings and farm shows to talk with farmers and consumers.  Through regular interaction with farmers, Hodel has been a successful membership recruiter for ISA and ASA.  He is able to speak from experience about the value of membership, and the ASA Lifetime Achievement Award -- Membership Focus honors his contributions.

 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


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Barb Baylor Anderson

Photo cutline: ISA Chairman Bill Wykes, soybean farmer from Yorkville, Ill., (left) congratulates award winners from Illinois during the ASA Awards Banquet held in Kissimmee, Fla.  Lyle Roberts (center) received the ASA Special Meritorious Service Award and Kent Hodel (right) received the ASA Lifetime Achievement Award -- Membership Focus.  Photo by Katie Knapp.