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.  


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.


Chandler Bane is a fifth-generation grain and livestock farmer from McLean County. He raises corn, soybean, wheat, forages, and cattle with his parents near Arrowsmith, Ill. A graduate of Iowa State University, Chandler received a bachelor’s degree in agricultural systems technology with an emphasis in ag and bio systems management. Before returning to the farm, he interned with Case IH Pro-Harvest throughout the United States. In addition to farming, he has served his community as a volunteer firefighter for the last six years.

Josh Griffin lives in Centralia, Ill., with his wife and daughter, and comes originally from a family farming operation in Paris, Ill., with corn and soybean production. He currently works for WinField United and helps on the farm during planting and harvest time. His uncles run a 100-head beef cattle operation on the farm as well. Griffin is a board member of the Southern Illinois Fertilizer and Pesticide Conference and sits on a non-profit board for Marion County churches.

Jake Heeren lives outside Sheldon, Ill., with his wife and three children. He works for FMC Ag Solutions as a retail market manager.  He also has had territory management roles in the seed industry with Pioneer and Beck’s Hybrids.  He started his career working in retail for Crop Production Services as a crop consultant. He attended Southern Illinois University Carbondale and received a bachelor’s degree in ag business. He also attended Danville Area Community College and received an associate’s degree in ag business.  Heeren also sells and services small precision ag business products. He is active in his church and the Milford FFA Alumni.

Michael Moore started farming with his parents in 2014 near Roseville, Ill., growing corn, soybeans, and feeder cattle. Moore is also responsible for all technological aspects of the farm. He received his bachelor's degree in horticulture and landscape management from Illinois State University in 2011 and was employed by a landscaping company near Chicago prior to going home to farm. He serves on committees at his church and sings in their sanctuary choir, the Ecumenical Singers and Choral Dynamics of Galesburg. Moore enjoys teaching with the Ag Day for Kids program. He is a Chicago sports fan and enjoys time with wife, Sarah, and his stepson.
Jacob Schmidgall, Atlanta, Ill., has been farming with his father since 2011 as Schmidgall Family Farms. Prior to returning to the farm, Schmidgall worked for Precision Planting in Tremont, Ill., as a technical support associate troubleshooting customer issues. He also has experience working for an internet provider installing and troubleshooting for customers. He received his bachelor’s degree in management information systems from Southeastern University in Lakeland, Florida. He and his wife, Brittney, have three young children.

Grant Strom is co-owner/operator of Strom Farms, Dahinda Ill., a corn, soybean, and cattle farm he shares with his parents, Doug and Marsha Strom, sister, Joanie Stiers, and his wife, Kristen. In addition to marketing, input selection, purchasing and recordkeeping, he manages the family's grain drying and storage facility, consults for companies and groups within the fertilizer and crops industry and recently served as a 4R Advocate for The Fertilizer Institute. Strom earned a bachelor’s degree in farm and financial management from the University of Illinois and is a graduate of the Illinois Agriculture Leadership Program. He and Kristen were named American Farm Bureau Young Farmer and Rancher National Achievement Award Winners in 2017.