ISA Names 2019-2020 Soy Ambassador Leadership Class


ISA Names 2019-2020 Soy Ambassador Leadership Class

BLOOMINGTON, ILL – November 27, 2018 – The Illinois Soybean Association (ISA) has announced its 2019-2020 Soy Ambassador Leadership Program participants. Seven individuals will take part in the training sponsored by the ISA checkoff and membership programs.

The two-year schedule of events gives participants opportunities to gain leadership expertise, industry exposure and a global perspective. Ambassadors discover challenges and opportunities facing the soybean industry by attending and engaging at key soybean events, including an international trip to see first-hand how ISA invests checkoff dollars outside the country.

“We are pleased to welcome a new group of enthusiastic soybean industry representatives,” says Lynn Rohrscheib, soybean farmer from Fairmount, Ill., and ISA chairwoman. “The Soy Ambassador program has a rich history of turning out well-equipped leaders who often go on to become ISA directors and agriculture organization leaders. It is an investment in our future.”

The 2019-2020 Soy Ambassadors include:

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. Mooreis 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, DahindaIll., 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. 

Brock Willard Pittsfield, Ill., is a 2012 graduate of Western Illinois University and has a bachelor’s degree in ag business. He is a fifth-generation farmer who works with his uncle and grandfather in Adams and Pike counties raising soybeans, corn and hogs. Willard also is employed off the farm with Compeer Financial as an insurance officer selling crop insurance. He was a 2017 American Soybean Association DuPont Young Leader and is a member of the Pike County Farm Bureau Young Leaders. Willard also serves on the University of Illinois Extension Advisory Council for Adams, Pike, Brown, Hancock and Schuyler counties. 

The Illinois Soybean Association (ISA) represents more than 43,000 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:

Rachel Peabody