The Soy Ambassador Leadership Program, sponsored by the Illinois Soybean Association (ISA) checkoff and membership programs, is an initiative which strives to grow participants’ leadership experience through designed programs and industry exposure while providing a foundation of what the soybean checkoff is and how the ISB/ISG Board of Directors invests those dollars. Ambassadors will develop skills and qualities that will prepare them for future leadership roles in the soybean and agricultural industry.  

APPLY TO BE A SOY AMBASSADOR TODAY!

Applications are currently closed. Please check back in summer 2022 for applications for the next class. Additional information, including eligibility requirements, can be found on the Soy Ambassador Program Details page.

MEET THE CURRENT CLASS OF SOY AMBASSADORS

Molly Holthaus of Assumption, Illinois grew up on a first-generation family row crop operation in Central Illinois. She pursued her passion in agriculture by obtaining her Bachelor’s Degree in Ag Business from Southern Illinois University Carbondale, and now works in agronomy sales for The Equity in Pana, Illinois.

Molly is excited to join the Soy Ambassadors Program because she believes knowledge is power. “I want to advocate for this industry and provide correct information to the general population. I want to be part of this program to also develop my skills and knowledge of the soybean industry as a whole, from an international and domestic standpoint that I wouldn’t be able to do in my career.”

Austin Reed of Monticello, Illinois grew up on his family’s 1,400 acre farm near Deland, Illinois, where they do 50/50 crop rotation with corn and soybeans. Austin supports the farm as he is able – helping with marketing plans, tillage, and manual labor – and also works for Global Processing Inc.

Says Austin, “I have been working in the IP Food Grade Soybean industry for two years now. I have seen great value in the way checkoff money is used to help grow not just the IP Food Grade bean industry, but also regular commodity beans as well. We have worked very closely with USSEC, and the newly formed SSGA. I get excited at the thought of being able to discover new, innovative, and profitable uses for Illinois soybeans. I believe Illinois has the best economy for soybeans and would love to be part of continuing to grow that economy. I believe that getting a foundation as a Soy Ambassador is a great starting point.”

Chandler Bruns of Urbana, Illinois is part of a third-generation grain farm located in the heart of Champaign County. “Bruns Farms” strives to grow corn and soybeans efficiently and effectively, dedicating time to learning new practices and produce sustainable acres to flourish for years to come. This includes 900 acres of soybeans and 900 acres of corn. They utilize conservation practices such as no-till, corn and soybean crop rotation, grass waterways, they use drainage tile for water management, and soil test in the fall and spring to maximize our nutrient management strategy.

According the Chandler, “Despite the adversity our family grain farm faced in years past, I knew that I wanted to continue my father’s legacy, and to do that I had to expand knowledge and opportunities within agriculture. I am participating in the Soy Ambassador Leadership Program because I strive to be an agricultural leader and a voice to assist farmers in Illinois. I am actively seeking this opportunity to join my fellow Illinois farmers in the pursuit to advocate for Illinois soybeans, develop my leadership skills, and share my voice with the leaders and experts in the agriculture industry to make a difference for grain farmers across the state.”

Andrea Davidson of Ashum, Illinois graduated from Illinois State University in 2015 with her Bachelors in Agronomy Management & Agribusiness. She works for Land O'Lakes, Inc., where she began as a Retail Agronomy Advisor, working directly with farmers, and currently serves as their District Seed Sales Manager for central and northern Illinois. 

Says Andrea, “The Agriculture community continues to need positive advocates, both internally and consumer facing.  With the ever-increasing transparency in our industry, we need as many proud and understanding voices who are willing to listen and communicate effectively with the consumers wants and needs. While also having the best interest of the Illinois soybean farmer in mind and how we can assist in current and future prosperity of their business. I believe that the Illinois Soybean Association has been a great advocate for the Illinois soybean farmer; I know this opportunity will better equip me to have positive and productive conversations with farmers and consumers.”

Brad Braddock of Patoka, Illinois is a fifth-generation farmer on his family’s 2,200 acre operation. He primarily grow soybeans and corn in a 50/50 rotation, but has recently introduced wheat into his acreage. He has also implemented cover crops in his operation, which he plans to directly no-till soybeans into next spring.

Says Brad, “I feel that the Soy Ambassador Leadership Program will be a tremendous opportunity for me to enhance and share my knowledge of the agriculture and soybean industries with others. I also want to have a greater understanding of how the ISA organization and board operate. Knowing matters that are of importance to my fellow producers will allow us to all be heard as one unified voice.”