ASA Achievement Awards

ASA Honors Lifetime Leader, Top Recruiter at Commodity Classic Banquet

WadeCowan-ASAPres_JimSpecht_2015 Special Meritorious Service Award

ASA President Wade Cowan (left) presents Dr. Jim Specht (right) with the Special Meritorious Service Award at the awards banquet in Phoenix.

The American Soybean Association (ASA) recognized individuals for their meritorious service, lifetime membership development and top recruiting achievement at the annual ASA Banquet during the 2015 Commodity Classic in Phoenix.

ASA presented Dr. Jim Specht, emeritus professor of agronomy and horticulture at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, with the Special Meritorious Service Award. The Special Meritorious Service Award honors individuals who served the soybean industry above and beyond the ordinary and devoted a major portion of their career to the soybean industry in any field.

Specht’s work led to major advancements in the soybean industry, including findings that an earlier planting date was crucial to achieving higher soybean yields. He was instrumental in DNA sequencing for generating higher seed yields and a leader in water management research and soybean yield response.ASA presented Dr. Jim Specht, emeritus professor of agronomy and horticulture at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, with the Special Meritorious Service Award. The Special Meritorious Service Award honors individuals who served the soybean industry above and beyond the ordinary and devoted a major portion of their career to the soybean industry in any field.

WadeCowan-ASAPres_HarveyMorken-ND-2015 Lifetime Achievement Membership Award

ASA President Wade Cowan (left) presents Harvey Morken (right) with the 2015 Lifetime Achievement Award-Membership Focus during the banquet in Phoenix.

ASA presented Harvey Morken, of Casselton, N.D., with the Lifetime Achievement Award – Membership Focus. The award recognizes individuals who have provided outstanding leadership and dedication to ASA and helped further the interests of soybean farmers.

Morken’s hard work helped the North Dakota Soybean Growers Association increase membership enough to receive a second national director on the ASA Board for 2015. He is a dedicated membership recruiter who strives to learn more about the important issues and engages farmers in conversation, underscoring the importance of having a state and national soybean association working on policy issues on their behalf.

Nomination Information

*The application period is now closed* 

Do you know a grower or someone who has made a significant impact to the American Soybean Association and/or the U.S. soybean Industry? The American Soybean Association Lifetime Achievement Awards are a nice way to thank them for their contributions.

ASA presents the following achievement awards:

  • Lifetime Achievement Award – Membership
  • Lifetime Achievement Award – Association
  • Special Meritorious Service Award

Eligibility for the Membership and Association Lifetime Achievement Awards is open to any former ASA Board of Director who has been off the board for at least three years. Eligibility for the Special Meritorious Service Award is open to any individual who has devoted a major portion of his/her career to the soybean industry.

Nominate Someone to Receive an ASA Achievement Award

Award Categories

Lifetime Achievement Award – Membership

The Lifetime Achievement Award with a membership focus honors individuals who have devoted their sustaining commitment to strengthening ASA membership through avid recruitment, board involvement or state affiliation. NOTE: current members of the ASA Board of Directors are not eligible for this award. Former ASA board members must be off the ASA Board for at least three years.

Lifetime Achievement Award – Association

The Lifetime Achievement Award with an association focus honors individuals who have through many years of service, exemplified truly outstanding leadership through unselfish dedication to the American Soybean Association and the soybean industry. Persons involved in soybean farming and/or soybean association related functions are eligible for this award. NOTE: current members of the ASA Board of Directors are not eligible for this award. Former ASA board members must be off the ASA Board for at least three years.

Special Meritorious Service Award

The Special Meritorious Service Award honors individuals who have served the soybean industry above and beyond the ordinary. This award may be presented to an individual who has devoted a major portion of his/her career to the soybean industry in any field.

2014 Winners

ASA Presents Lifetime Achievement Awards at Commodity Classic Banquet in San Antonio 

The American Soybean Association (ASA) recognized two leaders with a Lifetime Achievement Award at the annual ASA Banquet at Commodity Classic at the end of February 2014.

DaveDRENNANASA-Life-Achievement

ASA President Ray Gaesser (left) presents David Drennan (right) from Chesterfield, Mo. the Lifetime Achievement Award – Association Focus. Photo Credit: Sandra Martin

The award honors individuals who have provided outstanding leadership and dedication to ASA and helped further the interests of soybean farmers.

Dave Drennan from Chesterfield, Mo. was presented the Lifetime Achievement Award – Membership Focus. Drennan started his career with ASA in 1975 as newsletter editor. He was named interim Field Services Director at age 24. Dave was ASA’s first Membership Manager in 1979 to spearhead ASA’s membership efforts. In that year, ASA’s membership increased eight percent and more than 1,400 members from the previous year.

Drennan was also recognized as the number one ASA Regional Manager for membership recruitment in 1980 from ASA’s 11 regions.

DavidWOMAKASA-Life-Achievement

ASA President Ray Gaesser (left) presents David Womack (right) from Shelbyville, Tenn. the Lifetime Achievement Award – Association Focus. Photo Credit: Sandra Martin

David Womack from Shelbyville, Tenn. was presented the Lifetime Achievement Award – Association Focus.

Womack has been involved in the state and national soybean organizations for more than 30 years. Womack held leadership positions in ASA, was a founding member of the United Soybean Board (USB) and the last president of the American Soybean Development Foundation.

“In my opinion, you couldn’t find a more deserving and qualified individual who has committed more than Mr. Womack to serving the Tennessee and American soybean associations and to improving the standing of soybean producers everywhere,” said Julius Johnson, Commissioner, Tennessee Department of Agriculture in his letter of recommendation for Womack.

Womack also served on the National Biodiesel Board (NBB), Tennessee Soybean Association (TSA) and Tennessee Soybean Promotion Board (TSPB).

Previous Recipients

Special Meritorious Service

2015 Dr. Jim Specht. Lincoln, Neb.
2013 Lyle Roberts, Hopedale, Ill.
2012 Phil Bradshaw, Griggsville, Ill.
2011 Walter Fehr, Iowa State University
2010 Neil Strong, Syngenta
2009 Dr. Bhima R. Vijayendran, Columbus, Ohio.
2008 Dr. Ann Dorrance, Wooster, Ohio.
2007 Keith Reinholt, Reese, Mich.
2006 Keith Smith, Farmington, Mo.
2005 Blanche Lincoln, U.S. Senate, D-Ark.
2004  Charles E. Grassley, U.S. Senate, R-Iowa
2003  David Haggard, Steele, Mo.
2002  Allen Johnson, Office of the US Trade Representative
2001  Dave Younkman, Columbus, Ohio
2000  James D. Thrift, Parsippany, N.J.
1999  Dr. Ken Bader, St. Louis, Mo.
1998  James F. Wilder, Raleigh, N.C.
Mr. and Mrs. Fred Smith, Petersburg, Mich.

Lifetime Achievement-Membership

2015 Harvey Morken, Casselton, N.D.
2014 Dave Drennan, Chesterfield, Mo.
2013 Kent Hodel, Bloomington, Ill.
2012 C.W. Gaffner, Greenville, Ill.
2011 Gary Appel, Enfield, Ill.
2010 Robert Nelsen, Westbrook, Minn.
2009 Gerry Hayden, Calhoun, Ky.
2008 Homer C. Ferguson, Oskaloosa, Iowa
2007 Roger Hadley II, Woodburn, Ind.
2006 Jimmy Vaden Barbour, Friendship, Tenn.
2005 Don Louwagie, Marshall, Minn.
2004 Earl Brandt, Sumner, Iowa
2003 Lorraine Birschbach, Malone, Wis.
2002 John Eckert, Jackson, Minn.
2000 Mark Berg, Tripp, S.D.
1999 Norbert Pilotte, Monticello, Ind.
1998 Don Korte, Canton, Mich.
Patrick Delanty, Charter Oak, Iowa

Lifetime Achievement-Association Focus

2014 David Womack, Shelbyville, Tenn.
2013 Bob Metz, Browns Valley, SD
2012 Bart Ruth, Rising City, Neb.
2011 Ron Heck, Perry, Iowa
2010 Al Ambrose, CHS Incorporated
2009 Darryl Brinkmann, Carlyle, Ill.
2008 John R. McClendon, Marianna, Ark.
2007 Dr. John Henderson, Auburn, Ala.
2006 John F. Long, Newberry, S.C.
2005 Dwain Ford, Kinmundy, Ill.
2004 Mike Yost, Murdock, Minn.
2003 Harold Phillips, Stevenson, Ala.
2002 David Erickson, Altona, Ill.
2001 Richard A. McWard, Bunge Corporation
2000 Raymond Heck, Urbandale, Iowa
Grant Putman, Williamston, Mich.
1999 Dale Darling, Wilmington, Del.
Gary Riedel, Centralia, Mo.
Robert Utz, New Washington, Ohio
1998 Vivian Evans, Montevideo, Minn.

Lifetime Achievement (1996-97)

1998 Stephen M. Yoder, Altha, Fla.
Karl Sera Hidesuke, Japan
1999 Dr. James Orf, University of Minnesota
William Silver, Williamsport, Ind.
Ron Schildroth, Grundy Center, Iowa