Press Release

ISA Selects Nine Leaders for Soy Ambassador Program

September 20, 2016

ISA Selects Nine Leaders for Soy Ambassador Program


Bloomington, ILL. – September 29, 2016 – The Illinois Soybean Association checkoff and membership program (ISA) has announced its new leadership class of Soy Ambassadors. With its largest group of applicants yet, there are 9 new leaders joining the program. During the next two years, the ambassadors will take part in opportunities to gain leadership expertise, industry exposure and a global soy perspective.

“This is our fifth class of Soy Ambassadors and each year we have gotten more interest from experienced and eager applicants,” says Daryl Cates, soybean farmer from Columbia, Ill., and ISA chairman. “It is great to know that Illinois soybean farmers are interested in taking on leadership roles and shaping the soybean industry not only in Illinois, but nationally.”

The 2016-17 Soy Ambassadors include:

  • Zach Bailey: Zach farms in Louisville, Ill., with his brother and father. He grew all soybeans this season and will plant wheat in the fall. He is a member of the Illinois Farm Bureau and Clay County Farm Bureau Young Leaders program.
  • Maria Cox: Maria farms with her parents near White Hall, Ill. She raises corn, soybeans, hay, cow-calf pairs and feedlot cattle. She has a B.S. in agricultural business from the University of Illinois and an M.S. in ag economics from Purdue University. She has worked as a grain buyer for ADM and spent five years working for Diversified Crop Insurance Services. She is a blogger and contributor for Farm Futures magazine, Greene County Farm Bureau board director and past participant in the Prairie Farmer Cultivating Master Farmers program.
  • Luke Crawford: Luke is a fifth generation farmer in west central Illinois, living in Arenzville. Ill. He farms a 50/50 corn and soybean rotation with his father. They also raise 5,000 hogs annually. He is a past participant of the United Soybean Board’s See for Yourself tour to Central America and also is in the Cultivating Master Farmers Class of 2017.
  • Scott Gaffner: Scott grows corn, soybeans and poultry in Greenville, Ill., as well as helps on his family’s farm. He has worked in law enforcement for 27 years while farming. Outside of farming, Scott spent eight years as a local school board member as both president and vice-president.
  • Kent Lock: Kent raises corn, soybeans, pasture/forage and cattle in Avon, Ill. He also does rail car load adjustments and transloading in the region. He is a past board member for the Illinois Beef Association and has worked for ADM for eight years as a soybean merchandiser, meal and soy hull pellet merchandiser.
  • Dave Murphy:  Dave lives in Dunlap, Ill. and farms corn and soybeans in Peoria, Marshall, and Bureau counties.  He also manages farms with his wife.  He has had 5 years of experience as a District Sales Manager in the seed industry working with farmers and teaching agronomy.  Dave has a B.S. in ag economics, farm management and crop science from the University of Illinois.  He is also a member of the Illinois Farm Bureau.
  • Matt Pence: Matt lives outside Milford, Illinois with his wife Jessica. He farms corn, soybeans, wheat and is a dealer for Beck’s Hybrids.  He attended the University of Illinois and received a BS in Technical Systems Management with a minor in Crop and Soil Management.  While in college, Matt worked for CaseIH in New Holland, PA.  He has participated in the Carle Progressive Ag Safety Days instructing on tractor and PTO safety for the past four years and is an assistant varsity basketball coach at Watseka Community High School.
  •  Andrew Roselius: Andrew resides in Onarga, Ill., where he farms soybeans and raises show pigs. He also raises non-GMO soy for seed and export. Andrew has been a lieutenant for the Crescent-Iroquois volunteer fire department for 10 years. He is active in his church and the FFA alumni association.
  • Court White: Court lives in Jacksonville, Ill. and farms near Palmyra, Ill., with his father-in-law. His operation also includes Angus cattle. He is a certified crop adviser and has worked in ag retail for four years with an emphasis in soybean production, seed treatment, seed sales and fertility programs. He also is chair of the Cass-Morgan Farm Bureau Young Leaders.

ISA also recognizes the 2014-15 Soy Ambassador class: Ryan Vance, Onarga; Tyler Uden, Monticello; Elliott Uphoff, Shelbyville; Aaron Downs, Mowequa; Cory Ritter, Blue Mound; David Wessel, Chandlerville; and Heath Houck, Nokomis.


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 on the Soy Ambassador program, visit Or contact:


Dustin Scott