Soybean Leadership College

Announcing the 2017 Soybean Leadership College!

Jan. 10 – 12, 2017

Sheraton Westport Lakeside Chalet

St. Louis, Missouri

Founded in 2001, Soybean Leadership College provides current and future agricultural industry leaders with training to effectively promote the soybean industry communicate key agricultural messages and work to expand U.S. soybean market opportunities domestically and internationally.

In addition to providing a forward-looking educational experience, Soybean Leadership College fosters networking between growers from across the country, encouraging collaboration, which in turn increases the effectiveness of soybean growers at the local, regional and national level.


2017 Soybean Leadership College will feature sessions on: 

  • “Why Can’t We Be Friends?” – Finding Shared Values to Connect with Consumers
    • Ally Perry, The Center for Food Integrity
  • The Buzz: Soybean Sustainability and the Importance of Bees and Butterflies
  • Checking Vital Signs of the Ag Economy and Managing Your Risk

 Click here for a draft agenda

Online registration for the 2017 Soybean Leadership College is closed.
If you are interested in attending the
program please contact Christine Luelf, 314-576-1770.

Be sure to check back frequently for program updates and information

Designed for current and future leaders of the American Soybean Association (ASA), United Soybean Board (USB), United States Soybean Export Council (USSEC), Qualified State Soybean Boards (QSSBs) and University Students, the program offers something for everyone.


During the soundtrack portion of trivia, Soybean Leadership College attendees sing along and dance to the song “Shout” in 2015.

Register for the 2017 Soybean Leadership College by clicking here.

ASA thanks the following corporate partners and state QSSB organizations for sponsoring the 2017 Soybean Leadership College:

Corporate Partners:

  • BASF
  • Bayer Crop Science
  • Bunge
  • Farm Credit Council

State QSSB Sponsors:

• Arkansas Soybean Promotion Board

• Delaware Soybean Board

• Illinois Soybean Association

• Indiana Soybean Alliance

• Iowa Soybean Association

• Kansas Soybean Commission

• Kentucky Soybean Board

• Maryland Soybean Board

• Michigan Soybean Promotion Committee

• Minnesota Soybean Research and Promotion Council

• Nebraska Soybean Board

• New York Corn and Soybean Growers Association

• North Carolina Soybean Producers Association, Inc.

• North Dakota Soybean Council

• Ohio Soybean Board

• South Dakota Soybean Research and Promotion Council

• Tennessee Soybean Promotion Board

• Virginia Soybean Board


Click here for information from the 2016 ASA Soybean Leadership College held in Orlando, Florida! Click here to see photos of past Soybean Leadership College activities!

Session Descriptions
  • “10 Blankety-Blank Arguments Against GMOs – Why Science Rocks Agriculture”- with Yvette d’Entremont AKA the SciBabe
  • “Why Can’t We Be Friends? – Finding Shared Values to Connect with Consumers”
  • “Using Your Voice to Tell the Ag Story” – A Communications Workshop
  • “The Buzz: Soybean Sustainability and the Importance of Bees and Butterflies”
  • “A Farmer’s Guide to Making the Most of Social Media” -A panel of growers talk blogging, answering consumer questions about modern agriculture, exploring new social platforms—and how to handle those not-sonice comments.
  • “Checking Vital Signs of the Ag Economy and Managing Your Risk”
  • “Making Their Mark: The Importance of Women and Young People in Agriculture”
  • “Soy 411”– Your chance to ask ASA’s grower leaders questions about the soybean industry.

Speaker Bios

Kyle Bridgeforth – Diversity Panel 

DSC_0865Kyle Bridgeforth is a fifth generation farmer from Tanner, Ala. He farms with his dad, uncle, brother and cousin on Bridgeforth Farms, where they grow double-crop wheat and soybeans, but also grow corn, canola, cotton and grain sorghum.

Kyle graduated from Morehouse College with a degree in international studies: business and economics. He’s participated in the ASA DuPont Young Leaders Program and the USB See For Yourself Program.  With the ASA, he’s lobbied on behalf on the soybean industry and in 2014 gave a speech on is experience during the USB See For Yourself Program. Every other year, his operation hosts a Field Day, in conjunction with the National Black Growers Council, where they invite members of the community to learn about the latest agricultural programs and technology.

Kyle is most passionate about minority and underrepresented farmers, global food security, young farmers and community awareness.

Sam Butler – ASA Governing Committee Member

bod_butler_samSam Butler, a grower from New Hope, Ala., has farmed full-time since 2002. He’s a fifth generation farmer, who works in partnership with his father and younger brother.

They farm approximately 3,500 acres, fully no-till with a corn, soybean and soft red winter wheat rotation. In the past they raised beef cattle and hogs.


Yvette d’Entremont – The SciBabe

scibabe-headshotYvette d’Entremont launched in fall of 2014, debunking all the BS she could find on the internet with a combination of real science and dirty jokes. The combination took off to a roaring start, and the site had a few viral successes early. Her first professional piece of writing, “The Food Babe Blogger Is Full of *%$#,” went massively viral and launched her into a full time career in science communication. She’s continued to focus on debunking bad science mainly in alternative medicine, nutrition, and agricultural sciences. Her first book, SciBabe’s Ten Rules to BS Detection, is expected to be released in 2017.


Wayne Fredericks – ASA Director/Pollinator Panel 

bod_fredericks_wayne-150x150Wayne Fredericks, a farmer from Osage, Iowa, has been on the American Soybean Association’s (ASA) Board of Directors since 2015. He’s on the Iowa Soybean Association (ISA) board since 2008 and held positions as secretary, treasurer and president.

Fredericks has served as director of the Mitchell County Farm Bureau, Mitchell County Pork Producers and the Mitchell County Corn and Soybean Producers.

He and his wife Ruth and have farmed in Mitchell county just southwest of Osage for since the mid-‘70s. They raise soybeans and corn in a 50-50 rotation on 975 acres and have been long time users of no-till and strip-till. Their passion is conservation and working to build healthy, productive soil. The Fredericks have spent many years working on trials with the ISA On Farm Network and with ISA Environmental Programs and Services to implement positive environmental practices on their farm. To them it is about finding what productive, profitable, sustainable crop production practices work while keeping soil, water and air quality at the fore front. It is that balance that will help improve their competitiveness as Iowa producers.

Fredericks has a Bachelor of Science in animal science from Iowa State University.

He and Ruth have been married since 1976. They have one daughter named Angela and a granddaughter named Payton.

Kevin Gabbert – Vice-President Commercial Farmer’s and Agribusiness with FCS Financial/Financial Speaker 

?????????????Kevin Gabbert is Vice-President Commercial Farmer’s and Agribusiness with FCS Financial, a member of the Farm Credit System.  He has oversight over the Commercial and Agribusiness Team across the state of Missouri with over $1 billion in outstanding loan commitments.  This Team is focused on providing credit and other financial services to the largest and most progressive Agri-Business and production operations in Missouri.  Prior to his current position, he served as a Regional Vice President covering West Central Missouri with FCS Financial.

Raised on a traditional livestock and grain farm in Northwest Missouri near Stanberry, Kevin now lives with his wife and children on a small farm northeast of Sedalia. Kevin served on a National Farm Credit Task Force formed to identify opportunities to enhance access to capital for Young and Beginning Farmers.  He has served on numerous other committees and workgroups with the FCS Financial focused on enhancing the service and productivity of the organization.

Geralyn F. “Geri” Hayes – Vice President, Human Resources, Bunge North America

geriGeralyn “Geri” Hayes was named vice president, human resources of Bunge North America effective January 1, 2010. Ms. Hayes has been with Bunge since 1999 and has served as benefits director, director of organizational development and, most recently, vice president human resource services. Prior to joining Bunge, Ms. Hayes worked at Angelica Corporation for 15 years where she held positions in cash management and human resources, including director corporate human resources. She is a graduate of Fontbonne University with a degree in business administration


John Heisdorffer – ASA Vice President 

bod_heisdorffer_johnJohn Heisdorffer, a soybean producer from Keota, Iowa, is the secretary of the American Soybean Association (ASA). He has served on the ASA Board of Directors since 2010. He also raises corn and finishes 10,000 head of hogs a year. Heisdorffer farms with his wife Deanna and son Chris. John and his wife Diana have three children Lisa, Jody and Chris. Heisdorffer served on the Iowa Soybean Association (ISA) for 20 years in various positions. He also served on the National Biodiesel Board (NBB) from 1996 – 2004 and now serves as president of the NBB Foundation. Heisdorffer also served on the local coop board and his church council.

Brittany Jablonsky – Farm Credit Council/Diversity Panel Moderator 

brittany_jablonsky_2010Brittany Jablonsky is the director of strategic partnerships at the Farm Credit Council, the national trade association representing the institutions of the Farm Credit System. In this position she manages Farm Credit’s national contributions program, which distributes funds in support of organizations and activities that help ensure a vibrant, economically thriving rural America, today and for generations to come.

Jablonsky joined the Council from the staff of Senator Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota, where as a legislative assistant she supported the Senator’s work on the Agriculture Committee. Previously, Jablonsky held several positions with National Farmers Union, most recently as director of communications. In that capacity she spearheaded the organization’s communications to its members and policymakers and served as a liaison to the media. She was also a government relations representative for NFU and enjoyed a brief role as NFU’s education director.

Jablonsky holds bachelor’s degrees from the University of Minnesota, Morris in English and sociology and grew up on a family farm in North Dakota. She resides in Washington, D.C.

Iain Kelly Director of Regulatory Policy and Issue Management, Bayer Crop Science/Pollinator Panel 

iain-kellyIain Kelly, Ph.D. has over 30 years’ experience in the agrochemical industry with Bayer and legacy companies, holding a wide variety of technical and regulatory positions relating to assessing and managing the risks and benefits associated with the use of crop protection products. He is currently Director of Regulatory Policy and Issue Management and is a Bayer Research Fellow.

He has been an active leader in industry committees, workgroups and scientific societies to further the use of sound science in the registration of crop protection products. Recently he has been involved in numerous outreach activities aimed at bringing a diverse stakeholder base together to address the challenges of ensuring healthy honey bees and is the immediate past chair of CropLife America’s Pollinator Team. Originally a native of Scotland he has lived in the U.S. since 1986 and is now a citizen.

Doris Mold – President of American Agri-Women/Diversity Panel 

dorisDoris Mold is President of American Agri-Women the nation’s largest coalition of women in agriculture. She is an Agricultural Consultant, Agricultural Economist, Educator, and Advocate as well as a farm co-owner/operator.  She is the President of Sunrise Agricultural Associates, LLC an agricultural consulting firm based out of Minnesota and Wisconsin. Her consulting practice has included  a broad range of work, including but not limited to management, business and economic analysis, business and transition plan development and coaching, evaluation, marketing, advocacy, leadership, education and organizational development. She also teaches Farm and Agri-Business Management at the University of Minnesota (U of MN) for MAST International.

She was recently appointed to serve on a national Expert Panel that will be looking into Improving Data Collection and Reporting about Agriculture with Increasingly Complex Farm Structures sponsored by the USDA. In 2015 she served on a national Expert Panel  on Statistics on Women and Beginning Farmers in the USDA Census of Agriculture. Mold served six years on the Agricultural Statistics Advisory Committee for NASS and chaired the committee for three years. In late 2014 she was appointed to the Commodity Futures Trading Commission Agricultural Advisory Committee.  Additionally, Mold is a member of, serves or has served with a number of other agricultural organizations on a local, state, national and international basis. She co-founded the Women’s Agricultural Leadership Conference series which is going into its 19th year. She also founded the Minnesota State Fair Moo, Oink and Baa  Booths which educates and informs three quarters of a million Fair visitors every year about animal agriculture and the farm to table process. The Moo Booth celebrated its 25th anniversary of educating the public in 2016. In 2009 Mold co-coordinated the $1.4 remodeling project of the Moo Booth.

Previously, Mold worked as an Agricultural Economist at the U of MN and continues to work on research/education projects with the U of MN on a project basis. She holds a Master of Science degree in Agricultural and Applied Economics, and a Bachelors of Science in Agricultural and Applied Economics, Animal Science and Agricultural Education, all from the U of MN. In 2016 Mold was received the Distinguished Alumni Award from the University of Minnesota College of Food, Agricultural and Natural Resources Alumni Society.

Ron Moore – ASA President

mooreRon Moore, a farmer from Roseville, Ill., is vice president of the American Soybean Association (ASA). He previously served as secretary of ASA. He is a past chairman of the Illinois Soybean Association (ISA).

He also serves on the board of directors of the U.S. Soybean Export Council (USSEC) and is past chairman of Illinois Council for Best Management Practices (CBMP), a coalition of Ag groups in Illinois promoting improving farmers resource management and profitability.

Moore earned a Bachelor of Science in business administration and economics from Culver-Stockton College in Canton, Mo. He began farming in 1977 on a family farm located in the west central part of Illinois. Moore raises 600 acres of corn and 400 acres of soybeans, along with 230 head of feeder cattle grazed on 250 acres of pasture. His cropping practices include conservation tillage on about half the acres and no-till on the other half. He and his wife Deb have three sons.

Allyson Perry – The Center for Food Integrity

allyson-perry-headshotAllyson Perry joined The Center for Food Integrity in July 2009. Her roots run deep in agriculture, and she is passionate about building trust in the food system. She grew up on a farm and worked in the pork industry for 18 years’ in public affairs, government affairs and human resources, and she was a pork producer herself.

Allyson is a top-notch communicator who prides herself on creating win/win situations and exercising basic common sense in a world that’s not always logical. She is a former member of the Missouri Pork Producers and is on the executive board of the Agribusiness Association of Iowa—the largest association of ag retailers in the nation—having served as the first female chairperson.

In her spare time, she sings in three choirs at church and serves on the leadership team for the chancel choir. She holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Marketing from Oral Roberts University in Tulsa, Oklahoma.

Quint Pottinger – Social Media Panel 

q-1-of-1-2Quint Pottinger is a farmer from New Haven, Ky. where he grows 1,200 acres of corn and soybeans. He is a member of the Kentucky Soybean Association board, The National Corn Growers Resolutions Action Team and appointed to represent Kentucky on the Unites States Soybean Export Council. He also serves on the Kentucky Haiti Partnership board as an ambassador and mentor to agriculture students and young Haitian Farmers. Quint is also a board member on the Kentucky FFA Foundation and served on the Corn Farmers Coalition. His affection for bourbon has led to working relationships with local distilleries to sell corn. In his free time he enjoys spending nights out dancing with his wife, Leah, or relaxing by a fire sipping bourbon.

Jenny Rohrich – Social Media Panel 

Jenny Rohrich’s family farm consists of 1,000 acres of soybeans and 3,000 acres of other crops including corn, sunflowers and wheat.  The Rohrich’s farm with Jenny’s father-in-law, brother- in-law and occasionally their 88 year old grandfather.

Jenny holds a Bachelor of Arts degree and was a speaker at the AgChat Foundation. She is extremely active on social media, operating both her farm page, “Rohrich Farms,” and a personal page, “PrairieCalifornian. “ Her primary method of advocating for agriculture is through her blog, which has 12K average monthly page views. Jenny is passionate about connecting with people outside of agriculture, helping them to feel comfortable and confident about what farmers do.

Gary Schmitz – BASF 

gary-schmitzGary Schmitz is the Regional Manager for BASF Tech Service in the Midwest.  His team is responsible for new product introduction, sales training and education, and cooperation with third party personnel.

Gary grew up on a small farm in central Illinois.  He has a B.S. degree (Agronomy-Soil Science) from the University of Illinois. He received his M.S. (Weed Science) and Ph.D. degrees (Weed Science with minors in Soil Science and Plant Physiology) from the University of Kentucky.

In 1991, Gary joined Sandoz Crop Protection as a Field R&D Rep.  After the acquisition of the Sandoz corn business by BASF in 1997, Gary had roles as both a Field Biologist and a Tech Service Rep before moving into his current role of Regional Manager.

Al Setka – Wixted & Company 

al-wixted-8As a consultant and trainer with Wixted & Company, Al Setka works helps clients succeed on camera and off by utilizing more than three decades of experience in broadcast journalism, media relations and marketing.

His 20-year career in television and radio includes serving as news director at WHO-TV in Des Moines. Under Al’s leadership, WHO-TV ranked among the top-rated NBC affiliates nationwide, earned three Emmys and was recognized six consecutive years as Iowa’s best television news department. His broadcast news experience also includes WHO-AM and radio stations in Omaha, Neb., North Dakota and Montana.

Al garnered extensive media relations experience as communications director for a world-class scientific research center and as the public relations director at a full-service marketing agency. He coordinated coverage from such notable media outlets as TIME magazine, National Public Radio, The New York Times, National Geographic Television, USA Today, BBC Television, The Oprah Winfrey Show, CNN’s Anderson Cooper 360, The Associated Press, NOVA, ABC World News Tonight, National Geographic magazine, History Channel and The Des Moines Register.

Al is a military veteran who served six years in the U.S. Army including a four-year tour with Allied military intelligence in Berlin. He attended the University of Maryland-University College Europe and Brown College in Minneapolis.

Davie Stephens – ASA Secretary 

bod_stephens_davieDavie Stephens, a soybean farmer from Wingo, Ky., is secretary of the American Soybean Association (ASA). He has been an ASA national Director since 2012. He was elected to represent his fellow farmers on the Kentucky Soybean Association (KSA) board from 2006-14, serving as treasurer, secretary, vice-president and president during his three, three-year terms.

Stephens farms more than 5,000 acres in Kentucky. In addition to soybeans, he grows corn and raises chickens in four poultry barns. Stephens farms with his father and has almost 30 years of experience raising crops.

His bachelor’s degree came from the University of Kentucky, and he completed his master’s at Murray State University. He is married to Judy Byrd Stephens, who is also an active Agvocate for soybean farmers.

Dave Walton – Social Media Panel 

DSC_0875Dave Walton operates Walton Farms in Wilton, Iowa, where he grows soybeans, corn, alfalfa, grass hay and raises beef – cow/calf with a small feedlot, sheep, along with custom work, mainly hay, planting native grass and harvesting. His operation includes 230 acres of soybeans.

Dave’s farm ranges from no-till to conservation tillage. They do nearly all of their own work, including spraying and fertilizer application. Their grain is marketed through local channels, mainly a local corn processor, and the other portion goes to a river terminal. About 10 percent of the corn they raise is fed to their livestock.

Dave attended Muscatine Community College and studied animal science at Iowa State University. He graduated from the ASA DuPont Young Leaders program in 2003. He feels most comfortable talking about GMO’s, farming practices such as no-till, herbicide use and farmer-to-consumer communication. He enjoys the challenge of speaking to groups who may not know much about farming or may not be friendly toward modern production agriculture.

Dave is a guest columnist for the Genetic Literacy Project, who has advocated for agriculture in a variety of ways, from local radio station round-table discussions, to presenting a farmer’s perspective on GE crops to a public forum in Davis California for the Institute for Food and Ag Literacy. Most recently he participated in an online news show, The Stream on Al-Jezeera via Skype.

Going forward, he hopes to continue writing and expand that to several other online forums that approached him, to continue opening doors for face-to-face discussions. “In the end, it’s those in-person presentations that I feel have the greatest impact,” he said.

Location Information

Sheraton Westport Lakeside Chalet

St. Louis, Missouri

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