Soybean Leadership College


Announcing the 2016 Soybean Leadership College!

Jan. 5 – 7, 2016

Buena Vista Palace Hotel & Spa

Orlando, Fla. 

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.

2016 Soybean Leadership College will feature sessions on:

  • “Agricultural Trends – the Big Picture for Our Big Future” – Jayson Lusk, Ph.D., Regents Professor and Willard Sparks Endowed Chair in the Department of Agricultural Economics at Oklahoma State University
  • “Trusting Science- Conflicting Views and their Impact on Agriculture” – Kevin Folta, Ph.D., Professor University of Florida
  • “Telling Your Story” – Shane Meeker, Chief Storyteller and Company Historian, Proctor & Gamble
  • “Building Attitude Survival Kits: Making the Best of a Challenge in Ag” – David Overkund

Click here to see an agenda!

Registration will close on December 29, 2015 at 5pm, central time. If you have any questions or need further information regarding registration contact Chris Luelf via email: or by phone: 314.754.1291.

[button size=”large” color=”green” font=”white” url=”” target=”blank”]Click here to register for Soybean Leadership College 2016[/button]

Be sure to check back frequently for program updates and information

logo-SLCDesigned 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.

ASA thanks the following corporate partners, national checkoff and state QSSB organizations for sponsoring the 2016 Soybean Leadership College:

National Checkoff Sponsor

United Soybean Board

Corporate Partners:







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
  • North Dakota Soybean Council
  • Ohio Soybean Council
  • South Dakota Soybean Research and Promotion Council
  • Tennessee Soybean Promotion Board
  • Texas Soybean Board
  • Virginia Soybean Board

Click here to see photos and here for information from the 2015 ASA Soybean Leadership College held Jan. 6-8, 2015 in St. Louis!  

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Program Descriptions Listed Alphabetically

“A Farmer’s Guide to Making the Most of Social Media”
Presented by:

  • Dennis Bogaards (IA)
  • Kevin Hoyer (WI), American Soybean Association Governing Board Member
  • Jenny Dewey Rohrich (ND)

No longer a new or unknown communication frontier, social media continues to transform the image and business of agriculture. A single tweet, photo or mention in a social post can have a world-wide impact on farming practices at all levels.

Progressive growers are maximizing the opportunities available through social media to reach consumers and share the story of modern agriculture. This session will help you to understand how three growers are making the most of this medium and communicating with the both the farming and non-farming public.

“Agricultural Trends – The Big Picture”
Presented by:

  • Jayson Lusk, Ph.D., Regents Professor and Willard Sparks Endowed Chair in the Department of Agricultural Economics, Oklahoma University

Dr. Lusk will discuss big trends in agriculture that may affect your bottom line.  From ongoing policy issues to challenges dealing with popular culture, Lusk will talk about consumer engagement and the future of food.

“Building Attitude Survival Kits- Making the Best of a Challenge in Ag”
Presented by: David Okerlund, Author, Speaker and Professional Speech Coach

Building Attitude Survival Kits is all about what to do on a daily basis to stay at our best.  It’s about learning not to keep score but results.  It’s all about the critical need to nurture our sense of humor, the “Grace of Receptivity,” how to focus on the light at the end of the tunnel, the importance of being proactive about change instead of reactive, and much, much more.  David brings a harvest of speaking and working with farmers that spans over thirty years.

“storyMYTHOS – Storytelling for Brands, Business and You”
Presented by: Shane Meeker, Corporate Storyteller and Company Historian, The Proctor & Gamble Company

Storytelling is the foundation of human understanding and defines true authenticity.  As Aristotle once said, “You don’t influence people through intellect, you do it through emotion.”  A great story IS emotion.  It is how to truly build empathy and understanding and is the strongest motivation to action.  A great story ensures passion and memorability.  The same principles and insights that make your favorite stories on stage, page and screen can be used to develop strong branded innovations, meaningful consumer experiences, inspiring communications or just a more immersive powerpoint.

The storyMYTHOS presentation will cover the foundations and principles of storytelling along with some hands-on story tools and processes to apply to your projects.  Beginning with phases of defining and understanding story, we will talk story fundamentals and mythology and explore how story structures and patterns can be used across an infinite array of problems ranging from strategy, branding to overall better communications with important stakeholders. 

“Sustainability in the Soybean Industry”
Presented by:

  • Rosalind Leeck, Marketing Director Market Access FTO, United Soybean Export Council
  • Josiah McClellan, Director of Food Market Issues & Sustainability, United Soybean Board
  • Ron Moore (IL), Vice President, American Soybean Association

Sustainability can be interpreted in a number of ways but what does it mean for soybean growers and the industry?

The U.S. Soybean Sustainability Assurance Protocol (SSAP) is the soybean industry’s commitment to deliver the best raw material choice to meet the sustainability and social responsibility goals of buyers and end users.   A panel of industry and grower experts will address these components of sustainability while answering the basic questions.

1.)    What is the SSAP
2.)    How does the SSAP work
3.)    How U.S. soybean farmers commitment to sustainability and the SSAP is received internationally.
4.)    Where does sustainability go in the future

“The Trans-Pacific Partnership:  Implications for Soy, Livestock and our Trade Partners”
Presented by:

  • Phil Karsting, FAS Administrator
  • Janine Collier, 1st Secretary Agriculture, Embassy of New Zealand

A group of leading voices on trade, including representatives from the federal government, foreign trading partners and industry leaders, examines the impacts and implications for agriculture in the new Trans-Pacific Partnership, and explores how farmers and farm groups can be more proactive in pushing for its approval.

“Trusting Science – Conflicting Views and their Impact on Agriculture”
Presented by:

  • Kevin Folta, Ph.D., Associate Professor, University of Florida
  • Joy Rumble, Ph.D., Assistant Professor, University of Florida

The scientific advancements of today provide many benefits, but have also created many controversies. Controversies around scientific issues continue to persist, even when sound scientific evidence is available. This presentation will explore why the gap between science and perception exists, discuss the basic science of transgenic technology, and discuss the opportunities for you to get involved in the conversation.

“Understanding Cash Flow and Conditions”
Presented by: Terry Hinds – Chief Lending Officer, Diversified Markets, 1st Farm Credit Services, Illinois

Maintaining a sustainable farming operation today, from a financial perspective, can be a challenge. Potential shifts in agricultural legislation, lower commodity prices and poor weather conditions are just a few factors that can lead to financial uncertainty.  Terry Hinds with Farm Credit Services will provide tools and guidance on how you can maintain a profitable farming business through these adversities.

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Speaker Bios Listed Alphabetically

Dennis Bogaards - (IA) 

Dennis Bogaards

Dennis Bogaards

For more than 20 years, Dennis Bogaards has farmed with his family near Pella, Iowa. He and his wife, Michelle, raise corn and soybeans and have two children, Abbey and Adam.

Dennis has been involved with the Iowa Soybean Association (ISA) for several years, serving as a director for the American Soybean Association (ASA). ASA represents soybean farmers in policy work at the national level.

“For the last decade, I have been involved with ISA and ASA and the political aspect of farming,” says Dennis. “Because the number of farmers is getting smaller, our voices continue to get smaller in Des Moines and Washington, D.C. It is very important to keep good communication with our Congressmen to help educate them about how policies can impact farmers. It’s a passion of mine.”

Another passion for Dennis is new ag technology, including the use of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) and social media. He has helped host a number of visits to his farm and has participated in many meetings discussing and demonstrating how this technology can help farmers be more productive, efficient and sustainable.

He uses social media often, both personally and professionally.
Follow Dennis on Twitter: @dbogfarm and Facebook at Flying The Farm.

Janine Collier- First Secretary Agriculture, Embassy of New Zealand

Dr. Janine Collier Photo Credit: Brownfield Ag News

Dr. Janine Collier
Photo Credit: Brownfield Ag News

Dr. Janine Collier is the Agriculture Attaché at the New Zealand Embassy in Washington DC, representing New Zealand agriculture and contributing to the effort to further New Zealand’s primary industry trade objectives. Prior to this posting Dr. Collier served the Ministry for Primary Industries for thirteen years, most recently as a negotiator of technical market access for New Zealand’s food and food-related products into the North and Central American markets.

Dr. Collier is a veterinarian and received her Masters of Public Policy from Victoria University in Wellington. Her family owns a gold kiwifruit and mandarin orchard in Kerikeri growing fruit for export. She is posted in Washington DC with her husband Jason and their two adorable cats.

Wade Cowan - Chairman, Brownfield, Texas

Wade Cowan

Wade Cowan

Wade Cowan is a soybean producer in Brownfield, Texas, and Chairman of the American Soybean Association (ASA). He is the immediate past-president of ASA.

Cowan has served on the Texas Soybean Board since 2006 and has been an ASA National Director since 2010.

He is an eighth generation Texas farmer, who owns more than 1,500 acres of farmland in western Texas. He has more than 30 years of experience raising crops, including guar, cotton, wheat, grain, sorghum and soybeans.

Cowan has a Bachelors and Masters of Economics from Tarleton State University in Stephenville, Texas and Texas Tech University in Lubbock, Texas.

He and his wife Valerie have three children: Kelcie, Brittany and Alan.

Cowan is also a member of the Brownfield First Baptist Church, the Brownfield Optimist Organization, South Plains Community Action Board and the Rural Transportation Board.

Kevin Folta - Ph.D., Associate Professor, University of Florida

Kevin Folta Photo credit: University of Florida

Dr. Kevin Folta
Photo Credit: University of Florida

Dr. Kevin Folta is Professor and Chairman of the Horticultural Sciences Department at the University of Florida. Kevin Folta earned his Ph.D. in Molecular Biology from University of Illinois at Chicago in 1998, and he has worked at University of Wisconsin before settling in at University of Florida.

Dr. Folta researches the functional genomics of small fruit crops, the plant transformation, the genetic basis of flavors, and studies at photomorphogenesis and flowering. He has also written many publications and edited books.  Dr. Folta received the NSF CAREER Award, an HHMI Mentoring Award and was recognized as “University of Florida Foundation Research Professor” in 2010.

Terry Hinds – Chief Lending Officer, Diversified Markets, 1st Farm Credit Services, Illinois

Terry Hinds

Terry Hinds

In his current role, he is responsible for capital markets, agribusiness, trade credit, leasing and mission related investment.

Terry grew up on a farm in Coles County where he was very active in 4-H and the family farming operation. His family is deeply rooted in Illinois agriculture and still owns and operates the first Illinois farm the family purchased in 1848.

He is a graduate of the University of Illinois with a degree in agricultural economics and University of Wisconsin’s Graduate School of Banking.  He has spent more than 35 years in various positions with in the Farm Credit System including AgriBank, Farm Credit Bank of St. Louis and several Illinois Farm Credit associations.

Kevin Hoyer - (WI) American Soybean Association Governing Board Member

Kevin Hoyer

Kevin Hoyer

Kevin Hoyer, a soybean producer from West Salem, Wisconsin, is Vice President of the American Soybean Association (ASA). He’s served on the ASA board since 2008 and has been active in the soybean family since 2003.

Hoyer grew up on his family dairy farmer where he also raised pigs and chickens. He graduated with an AS degree in ag business in 1988. After moving home in 1990 and renting a neighbor’s farm for a few years, he started farming on his own in 1996 as a Certified Crop Advisor.

Hoyer has been employed as an agronomist and location manager at a local independent Ag Retail company since 1990 and also currently operates a 500 acre grain farm. His wife Jody is involved in the farm operation and helps with planting and harvesting, along with working full time as a lab technician at a local milk plant.

Hoyer has served on the Wisconsin Soybean Association board as president for two terms. He was a 2003 DuPont Young Leader program participant.

Phil Karsting – Foreign Agricultural Services (FAS) Administrator

Phil Karsting Photo Credit: USDA

Phil Karsting
Photo Credit: USDA

Phil Karsting was appointed Administrator of the Foreign Agricultural Service in May 2013. He previously served more than 22 years on Capitol Hill, most recently as chief of staff to Senator Herb Kohl (D-Wis.), then-chairman of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Agriculture, Rural Development and Related Agencies.

Phil’s prior Capitol Hill assignments included serving as senior analyst on the Democratic staff of the Senate Budget Committee where he handled issues relating to agriculture, rural development, housing, telecommunications, energy and the environment. He also served as legislative assistant to the late Senator Jim Exon (D-Neb.). He served on the Senate bipartisan chiefs of staff steering committee and, in 2013, he led training seminars in Liberia for Liberian congressional staff on behalf of the National Democratic Institute.

Phil began his association with American agriculture working in his family’s farm supply business in rural Nebraska. He received a bachelor’s degree in Agricultural Economics from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. He is also a graduate of the French Culinary Institute in New York City.

Rosalind Leeck – Marketing Director for Market Access/Freedom to Operate, U. S. Soybean Export Council (USSEC)

Rosalind Leeck Photo Credit: LinkedIn

Rosalind Leeck Photo Credit: LinkedIn

Rosalind (Roz) Leeck is the Marketing Director for Market Access/Freedom to Operate at the U.S. Soybean Export Council (USSEC). Prior to joining USSEC, Roz served as the Director of Grain Marketing at the Indiana Corn Marketing Council (ICMC) and Indiana Soybean Alliance (ISA), the state’s corn and soybean checkoff organizations.

Ms. Leeck, lives in Indianapolis and has more than 10 years of experience in the grain marketing field with previous positions at Archer Daniels Midland Co. and Demeter L.P.  She has also worked for the Indiana State Department of Agriculture, serving in the Division of Soil Conservation.

Roz originally hails from southern Illinois where she remains a partner in her family’s grain and livestock farm.

Roz holds Bachelor of Science Degree in Economics from Millikin University in Decatur, Illinois, an MBA from Butler University and a Master of Science in Agricultural Economics from Purdue University.

Jayson Lusk – Ph.D., Regents Professor and Willard Sparks Endowed Chair in Department of Agricultural Economics at Oklahoma University

Dr. Jayson Lusk

Dr. Jayson Lusk

Dr. Jayson Lusk is a professor and the Willard Sparks Endowed Chair in the agricultural economics department at Oklahoma State University. Lusk has published more than one hundred articles in peer-reviewed journals on topics related to consumer behavior, food marketing, and food policy. His book The Food Police: A Well-Fed Manifesto about the Politics of Your Plate is a critical account of food and agriculture economics.

Following many years of studying food regulation and comparing costs and benefits of the policies in question, Lusk grew disenchanted with a movement that he feels ignores the realities facing most American consumers and farmers. Lusk argues that the “food elite” in America have made food more expensive—putting lower-income consumers at a disadvantage—and prevented us from taking full advantage of emerging technologies in the food industry.

In his upcoming book, Unnaturally Delicious: How Science and Technology are Serving Up Super Foods to Save the World, Lusk writes about how technology and agriculture can work together to help solve the world’s largest food issues and improve our farming system.

Josiah McClellan – Director of Food Market Issues & Sustainability, United Soybean Board (USB)

Josiah McClellan

Josiah McClellan

Josiah McClellan is the Director of Food Market Issues and Sustainability at the United Soybean Board (USB). In this role, he supports USB in developing industry and value chain partnerships that support farmers, communicating the sustainability performance of U.S. soybeans, and improving conservation results on soybean acres.

Josiah has 15 years of experience in consulting Fortune 500 companies on business sustainability and strategies to improve performance. He serves on Field to Market, the U.S. Dairy Sustainability Council, Carbon Disclosure Project Food/Beverage/Tobacco Technical Working Group, and ISEAL Credibility Principles Task Force. He has written articles on business sustainability strategies for B2B Marketing Magazine and Marketing Daily.

Shane Meeker – Corporate Storyteller and Company Historian, The Proctor & Gamble Company

Shane Meeker Photo Credit: IIT Institute of Design

Shane Meeker
Photo Credit: IIT Institute of Design

Shane Meeker started his career as a Design Manager at The Procter and Gamble Company.  For 15 years he would help lead the design strategy and execution for billion dollar brands like Tide, Crest, and Pampers.  Always having a desire to try Hollywood, he decided to write a movie screenplay.  After spending countless hours studying and researching he began to understand a deeper human truth…that the art and science of story could be used as a problem solving tool in any industry.  Story was not just limited to the traditional venues of entertainment. He began to look at brands, companies and products in an entirely different way.

Story was a way to understand our hero, the obstacles they would face and the everyday treasures that motivated them to endure and press-on. From there a collection of fundamental story principles and tools based on mythology and narrative techniques studied across the centuries was developed.   This approach can help with everything from culture building to creative problem solving to inspiring communications.

He has been teaching story for more than 12 years including graduate story-based classes at The University of Cincinnati’s DAAP School of Design and the Illinois Institute of Technology’s Masters of Design program.   He is the Procter & Gamble Company Historian & Corporate Storyteller.  His love and understanding of this idea called “story” is now a career.

Ron Moore – (IL), Vice President, American Soybean Association (ASA)

Ron Moore

Ron Moore

Ron Moore, a farmer from Roseville, Illinois, is Vice President of the American Soybean Association (ASA). He is a board member who served as ASA Secretary in 2015 and as past Chairman of the Illinois Soybean Association.

He also serves on the Board of Directors of the United States 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, Missouri. 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.

John Motter – Vice Chairman, United Soybean Board (USB)

John Motter

John Motter

John farms soybeans and corn on his farm in Jenera, Ohio. He has a son, Jeremy, and two grandsons, Randy and Ryan. This is John’s seventh year as a USB director. Previously, John served as the treasurer and ex officio member of the Strategic Management Committee, Customer Focus Action Team chair and as vice chairman and a member of the Audit & Evaluation Committee. He has also been a member of the Oil Action Team, the International Marketing Committee’s Aquaculture Utilization Subcommittee and Animal Utilization Subcommittee, the Strategic Planning Team and the New Uses Committee.

He is a past chairman of the Ohio Soybean Council. He is a member of Farm Bureau and the State Extension Advisory Board. John has also been an officer on the Hancock County Fair Board.

David Okerlund – Author, Speaker and Professional Speech Coach

David Okerlund

David Okerlund

David Okerlund grew up in a rural, Midwestern town of Manchester, Iowa where as a young teenager he saved up money to go on to college by working on the town’s garbage route.  Till this day he still says that, “It was the best job I have ever had in my entire career.  It taught me more about the value of commitment and endurance than one might ever dare to believe.”

From there he went on to Hastings College in Nebraska where he became a nationally ranked speech and forensic speaker.  After graduation he became a teacher in Iowa where in his first year he was nominated as the Outstanding Young Speech Educator for the state.

After leaving teaching, David became what he affectionately calls a “road toad warrior.” He defines that as a salesperson who can drive over 100,000 miles a year and still love selling.

In the late seventies David moved into management as a special assistant to the college president.  Shortly after that he became fund development director for a large heart hospital.  And then an administrator for a 350 bed trauma center hospital.

In 1983 David’s speaking abilities gained national attention when he finished in the final three of the World Championship of Public Speaking; a contest that includes over 20,000 contestants from over 45 different countries.

In 1984 David was an instructor at Oxford University where he taught speech and debate. In 1987 David decided to pursue a speaking career on a full time basis has developed a reputation as one of the finest speakers in the United States.  He is a member of the International Hall of Fame for speakers and has shared the platform with American greats like Bob Hope, Lee Iacocca, Robert Schuller and others.

He taught a masters degree class in organizational ethics and persuasion at the University of Minnesota.

Jenny Dewey Rohrich – (ND)

Jenny Dewey Rohrich

Jenny Dewey Rohrich

Jenny Dewey Rohrich is the writer, photographer, and recipe developer behind
Prairie Californian. She is a self-proclaimed country girl, born and raised in Northern California. After joining social media, Jenny met and later married a third generation North Dakota farmer. She has since moved to the rural prairies of North Dakota where they farm wheat, corn, soybeans, and sunflowers.

Agriculture has always been close to her heart and because of that Jenny started Prairie Californian. She strives to bridge the gap between those far removed from
the farm by giving people insight into daily life on their farm. On Prairie Californian, she also shares about food, photography, and other lifestyle topics.

Jenny is a regular contributor to The Huffington Post as well as a former contributor for She is also the Co-Founder of Rural Housewives, a community group and lifestyle blog for women to share their passion for the rural life. Jenny is a former participant in the National Wheat Foundation’s Wheat Advocate program as well as a current member of the American Soybean Association’s Advocacy &
Training Team.

Jenny resides with her farmer husband in a small town in North Dakota where
she can be found with a camera in hand capturing the world around her, loves
the challenges of bringing culture to the North Dakota prairie through a variety
of culinary creations, and using her interior design degree to build their dream home.

Joy Rumble – Ph.D., Assistant Professor, University of Florida

Joy Rumble

Joy Rumble

Joy Rumble is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Agricultural Education and Communication at the University of Florida. She focuses her efforts in the Center for Public Issues Education in Agriculture and Natural Resources where she conducts research and outreach initiatives around effective communication in agriculture. Her research concentrates on consumer perceptions of agriculture including perceptions of local food, food safety, GMOs, and transparent communication in the livestock industry.

Joy graduated from the University of Florida with her Ph.D. and has a master’s degree in Agricultural Communication and a bachelor’s degree in Animal Science from Ohio State University.

Richard Wilkins – (Del.) President, American Soybean Association (ASA)

Richard Wilkins

Richard Wilkins

Richard Wilkins, a farmer from Greenwood, Del., is President of the American Soybean Association (ASA). He is one of nine soybean growers who make up the ASA Governing Committee.

Wilkins has served as ASA Vice President, Treasurer, and on ASA’s Membership & Corporate Relations (2010), Public Affairs (2011-13), Investment (2013) and Strategic Planning (2013) committees.

Wilkins has been a member of the Mid-Atlantic Soybean Association since 2002, and served his state association as President (2005-10) and Membership Chair (2003-04).

Wilkins farms 400 acres of soybeans annually. In addition, he produces 400 acres of corn, 250 acres of wheat, 100 acres of barley, 200 acres of vegetables, 250 acres of hay and raises 150 head of beef cattle. He is a member of the American Farm Bureau Federation Soybean Advisory Committee.

Wilkins earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Agriculture from the University of Delaware and enjoys hunting, fishing and camping.

[/toggle] [toggle title=”Location Information”]

Lake Buena Vista PalaceSLC Hotel image
1900 E. Buena Vista Drive
Lake Buena Vista, FL 32830
Phone: 407-827-2727

Lake Buena Vista Palace is located in the Walt Disney World® Resort, within walking distance to Disney Springs, shops, restaurants and dazzling
nightlife of the downtown
Disney® area.

Nearby attractions:
Disney Springs (walking distance)
Disney’s Hollywood Studios® (3 miles)

Magic Kingdom® Park (5 miles)
Disney’s Animal Kingdom® Park (5 miles)