JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – The Missouri Soybean Association celebrated 50 years of soybean advocacy by holding their board of directors meeting and holding a lobby day at the Capitol. Soybean farms also set this year’s policy agenda during the annual meeting.
Growers’ key message this week has been the impact of biodiesel, specifically soybean oil based biodiesel, on Missouri’s economy. Missouri ranks second in the country for biodiesel production with eight plants generating roughly 200 million gallons of the renewable fuel per year and creating $1.7 billion value-added benefit for Missouri’s GDP. During their time at the Capitol, farmers asked their legislators for support in making good on deferred payments to Missouri’s biodiesel producers with funding for the Missouri Qualified Biodiesel Producers Incentive Fund in the forthcoming budget.
“Soybeans are Missouri’s top cash crop and a great economic engine for our state,” said Tom Raffety, a southeast Missouri farmer and president of the Missouri Soybean Association. “The Missouri Soybean Association is the farmers’ voice in Jefferson City, and we take the responsibility to serve those growers and their rural communities very seriously. Soybean farmers are an important voice for agriculture, as well as for transportation and economic development in Missouri.”
The importance and impact of biodiesel was driven home throughout the week, including through a keynote address from National Biodiesel Board CEO and Jefferson City resident Joe Jobe. Missouri soybean farmers’ commitment to research and innovation provided a foundation for the biodiesel industry, he said in his remarks, and that he industry has grown more than tenfold in the last 15 years with even greater opportunity ahead.
The Missouri Soybean Association honored several partners for outstanding service to the Association, soybean farmers and the entire soybean value chain during the annual meeting as well. The Association’s honorees were selected by the board of directors earlier this year. The honorees included:
- U.S. Sen. Roy Blunt, State Sen. Brian Munzlinger and Rep. Craig Redmon, who each received a Soybean Champion award from Association president Tom Raffety, for their outstanding service to agriculture and support of soybean farmers. Senator Munzlinger and Representative Redmon met with soybean farmers Tuesday in Jefferson City, Senator Blunt will visit with growers later this spring.
- Kent Engelbrecht of ADM received the Association’s industry partner award for his outstanding contributions to growing the state’s biodiesel industry. Engelbrecht works closely with several of Missouri’s biodiesel plants, and serves on both the National Biodiesel Board’s Governing Board and Missouri’s Biodiesel Working Group. He has also assisted the Missouri Soybean Association and American Soybean Association with policy work.
- T. Brooks Hurst of Tarkio and Larry Strobel of Bell City were honored with outstanding service awards from the Missouri Soybean Association, as they each retired from the board of directors. Hurst had served eight terms on the board after first being elected to represent northwest Missouri in 1992. He served on the Association’s executive board 1995-2002, including a two-year term as president of MSA. Strobel was the longest-serving director prior to his retirement, having been elected to represent southeastern Missouri in 1980. He served on the Missouri Soybean Association’s executive board 1982-1988, including as president in 1987 and 1988. Strobel also served on the American Soybean Association board of directors, retiring in 1999.
- ADM’s Mike Livergood was honored for outstanding service to the soybean industry as he retires both from ADM and the Mid-America Biofuels board of directors this year. Livergood has served the biodiesel industry for more than four decades and has been instrumental in the success of biodiesel production in Missouri. Missouri soybean farmer Warren Stemme of St. Charles wrote that Livergood prioritized efficiency and “communicated very distinctly to the board when the time was right to expand plant production capacity” and that Livergood’s ability to marry production technologies with an understanding of global supply and demand for biodiesel makes him a great asset to the board of directors and industry as a whole.
The Missouri Soybean Association’s annual meeting also included recognition from the American Soybean Association for reaching the milestone of 50 years and for soybean farmers with outstanding yields in Missouri’s annual Soybean Yield Contest. A full list of yield contest honorees is available online and in the February 2016 issue of Missouri Soybean Farmer magazine.
The Missouri Soybean Association’s annual meeting is one of many opportunities for growers and legislators to connect throughout the year. To learn more about how the Missouri Soybean Association works to increase the profitability of Missouri soybean farmers through advocacy and education efforts across the state visit mosoy.org.
Rachael Herndon is the editor at The Missouri Times, and also produces This Week in Missouri Politics, publishes Missouri Times Magazine, and co-hosts the #moleg podcast. She joined the Missouri Times in 2014, returning to political reporting after working as a campaign and legislative staffer.
Rachael studied at the University of Missouri – Columbia. She lives in Jefferson City with her husband, Brandon, and their two children.
To contact Rachael, email firstname.lastname@example.org, or via Twitter @TheRachDunn.