Awards were presented on November 28 at the ISA Impact Awards Banquet

BLOOMINGTON, ILL., (November 29, 2023) – The Illinois agriculture industry would not be where it is today without the hard work, time and efforts put forth by passionate leaders. In appreciation of these leaders’ efforts, the Illinois Soybean Association (ISA) created its annual Achievement Awards to recognize those individuals who make the Illinois agriculture industry stronger.

The five winners of the second annual ISA Achievement Awards were honored for their contributions to the industry on November 28 at the ISA Impact Awards Banquet held in Bloomington. The program for the evening featured Jackie Applegate, President of Bayer Crop Sciences as the keynote speaker and Kristi Jones, Deputy Director of the Illinois Department of Agriculture as the emcee. Representatives from numerous allied industry organizations and corporate partners were also in attendance to celebrate the achievements of the award winners.

“ISA is proud to honor these hardworking individuals who are leading our industry into a better future through their leadership, excellence, commitment and service,” said John Lumpe, CEO of the Illinois Soybean Association. “We thank them for all of their contributions that benefit farmers and the Illinois agriculture industry as a whole.”

The award winners for 2023 are as follows:

The ISA Chairman’s Award recognizes an individual who has gone above and beyond to serve the state’s soybean interest. It is the highest award given by the Association and is presented in appreciation of one’s dedication, leadership and years of service to the soybean industry.

The recipient of this year’s Chairman’s Award is Bob Easter.

Easter served as the 19th President of the University of Illinois from 2012-2015. Prior to that, he held a number of leadership roles at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign including Head of the Animal Sciences Department and Dean of the College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences. He also served as Interim Provost and Interim Chancellor for the University.

“Bob has dedicated his life to developing a positive future for the agriculture industry,” said Ron Kindred, Chairman of the Illinois Soybean Association. “From his research on soybeans for swine feed to his efforts in helping build a market for Illinois soybeans in China, his dedication to the soybean industry has had a profound impact on farmers across the State of Illinois.”

ISA’s Farm Family of the Year Award recognizes an Illinois farm family who is actively engaged in ISA’s membership program, shows commitment to ISA programming, and has demonstrated impact in their community and across the industry.

The recipients of the Farm Family of the Year Award are Leanne Casner and Matthew Clavin.

Casner and Clavin help run their family’s Clavin Dairy Farm near Rosamond, Illinois. This father-daughter duo also welcomes visitors wanting to learn more about dairy farming, hosting several tours of their dairy farm per year for educational purposes. In addition to the farm tours, Casner also started a Facebook page called “Daily Dose of Dairy,” where she addresses consumers’ concerns about antibiotic and hormone use, animal care, nutrition and more.

“Both Leanne and Matthew are passionate about educating others about agriculture and go out of their way to share facts about life on a dairy farm and why they milk cows,” Lumpe said. “Their efforts have had a profound impact on their community and the Illinois agriculture industry.”

The Friend of Illinois Soybean Farmers Award recognizes a friend to the organization in any capacity and is presented in appreciation of one’s efforts in championing on behalf of Illinois soybean farmers.

The recipient of the ISA Friend of Illinois Soybean Farmers Award is Dr. Gary Schnitkey.

Dr. Schnitkey is a Soybean Industry Endowed Professor in Agricultural Strategy and a Gardner Agriculture Policy Fellow at the University of Illinois. His research informs farmers of the most profitable management practices and encourages long-term changes to impact yield. His work also aims to educate farmers across the state of Illinois on what rotation practices are most suitable for their areas.

“Dr. Schnitkey analyzes the profitability of major field crops, including soybeans,” Lumpe said. “His research makes a difference to Illinois soybean farmers as it informs and encourages them to make long-term changes to boost both yield and profitability.”

The ISA Legislator of the Year Award recognizes Illinois lawmakers who are actively making a difference for soybean farmers by advocating for policy and regulatory issues important to our industry. The award is presented in recognition of a proven track record of support and for championing farm policy.

This recipient of the Legislator of the Year Award is Representative Mike Bost.

Rep. Bost represents 34 counties of Illinois’ 12th District in the U.S. House of Representatives. A U.S. Marine Corps veteran, Bost also serves as the Chairman of the House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs. Bost is a lifelong resident of Murphysboro, Illinois, and is a former firefighter for the Murphysboro Fire Department.

“Rep. Bost actively advocates for policies that address issues Illinois soybean farmers are facing,” Lumpe said. “Through his work on the House Committees on Veterans’ Affairs, Transportation and Infrastructure and Agriculture, Bost is truly making a difference for Illinois agriculture.”

The ISA Excellence in Media Award recognizes a member of the media who promotes Illinois soybeans and Illinois agriculture through their coverage in print, broadcast, social and beyond.

The recipient of the Excellence in Media Award is Holly Spangler.

Spangler is the Senior Editor of Prairie Farmer magazine and an Executive Editor for Farm Progress. She is a past president of the American Agricultural Editors Association and currently serves on the Illinois 4-H Foundation Board, the Illinois Council for Agricultural Education, and is an Advisory Board Member for the University of Illinois College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences Research Station at Monmouth, Illinois.

“Holly’s dedication to the Illinois agriculture industry makes her an excellent recipient for this award,” Lumpe said. “Her writing is not only award-winning but also can be relied upon for providing the latest industry news and updates. She has quite a knack for sharing relevant information in a way that is relatable to farmers.”

For more information about the ISA Achievement Awards, visit


About the Illinois Soybean Association

The Illinois Soybean Association (ISA) checkoff and membership programs represent more than 43,000 soybean farmers in Illinois. The checkoff funds market development, soybean production and government relations efforts, while the membership program, Illinois Soybean Growers (ISG) and the Illinois Soybean Growers PAC actively advocates for positive and impactful legislation for farmers at local, state and national levels. ISA upholds the interests of Illinois soybean farmers through promotion, advocacy, research and education with the vision of becoming a trusted partner of Illinois soybean farmers to ensure their profitability now and for future generations.

Media Contacts:

Erica Ballmer-Riley

Olivia Key
Illinois Soybean Association

Published On: November 29, 2023Categories: Latest News, Press ReleasesTags: , ,

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