Press Release

ISA Honors Industry Leaders

December 01, 2016

ISA Honors Industry Leaders


BLOOMINGTON, ILL December 1, 2016 -The Illinois Soybean Association (ISA) checkoff and membership programs honored six industry leaders with awards of excellence today at their annual meeting in Bloomington, Ill.  The winners were nominated and chosen by the current ISA Board of Directors for excellence in promoting soy from Illinois in ISA's five areas that are important to Illinois soybean farmers- animal agriculture; transportation; yield, composition and profitability; freedom to operate and organizational excellence and leadership.


“Partnerships are vital at ISA. Working together with other industries in Illinois and beyond is what makes our projects impactful,” says Daryl Cates, ISA chairman and soybean farmer from Columbia, Ill. “Each of the people and groups we recognized today have made significant contributions to the Illinois agriculture industry and serving Illinois soybean farmers.”


  • Thomas Titus, a pork producer from Elkhart Ill., is the ISA Excellence in Animal Agriculture award winner.  ISA awards Excellence in Animal Agriculture to an individual who has helped ISA increase worldwide consumption of Illinois soybeans and soy products and who assists with retaining and growing Illinois' animal agriculture industry.


  •  John Greuling is the ISA Excellence in Transportation winner.  The Excellence in Transportation Award honors someone who helps develop, expand or secure greater efficiencies and transportation opportunities for soybean products. Grueling is currently the president and CEO of the Will County Center for Economic Development (CED) and Will County Economic Development Foundation.


  • Jason Bond is the ISA Excellence in Yield, Composition and Profitability award winner.  The Excellence in Yield, Composition and Profitability Award recognizes an individual who identifies, develops and influences production solutions that provide farmers with a competitive edge. Bond is a professor at Southern Illinois University Carbondale in Plant Health in the College of Agricultural Sciences. He is the director of the Illinois Soybean Center at SIU, and his research and teaching program focuses on disease management in row crops in the Midwest.


  • The Council on Best Management Practices (CBMP) receives the Excellence in Freedom to Operate Award. The Excellence in Freedom to Operate Award winner is recognized for efforts that help Illinois soybean farmers protect current markets, open new markets or advocate for public policies that eliminate farming roadblocks. CBMP is a coalition of ag organizations and agribusinesses including Illinois Farm Bureau, Illinois Corn Growers Association, ISA checkoff program, Illinois Pork Producers Association, Illinois Fertilizer and Chemical Association, Syngenta, GROWMARK, and Monsanto. CBMP was founded in 1999 to assist and encourage adoption of best management practices to protect and enhance natural resources and the sustainability of agriculture in Illinois. 


  • Marcia Willhite and Warren Goetsch are the ISA Excellence in Leadership award winners. The Excellence in Leadership Award recognizes the efforts of an individual or individuals who go out of their way to develop and establish a global competitive position for Illinois soybeans and soybean products.  This year ISA honored two individuals for their work together on the implementation of the Nutrient Loss Reduction Strategy.


ISA also recognized and honored outgoing board members and Soy Ambassadors. They are:


  • Bill Raben, Ridgeway, Ill., most recently served as ISA District 18 director and as past chairman for ISA, having served two terms. He previously was vice chair, assistant secretary-treasurer, and was the chair for the membership task force. He will continue to work with the association as an American Soybean Association (ASA) representative.


  • Rob Shaffer, El Paso, Ill. was previously ISA District 6 director and past secretary for the board. He will continue to work with the association as an ASA representative.


  • The 2014-2016 Soy Ambassadors who completed their leadership program were Cory Ritter of Blue Mound, Elliott Uphoff of  Shelbyville, Heath Houck of Nokomis, Tyler Uden of Monticello, Aaron Downs of Mowequa, Ryan Vance of Onarga and David Wessel of Chandlerville.


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 profitability research, issues analysis, communications and education. Membership and advocacy efforts support Illinois soybean farmer interests in local areas, Springfield and Washington, D.C., through the Illinois Soybean Growers. 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:

Amy Roady




Photo caption: 2016 Illinois Soybean Association (ISA) Awards of Excellence winners pictured with ISA chairman Daryl Cates and CEO Craig Ratajczyk. From L to R: Thomas Titus, Marcia Willhite, Cates, Todd Dail, Jason Bond, Warren Goetsch and Ratajczyk.