BLOOMINGTON, Ill. — This week, the Illinois Soybean Association (ISA) Board of Directors seated two newly elected at-large directors: Jeff O’Connor of Kankakee, Ill., and Brady Holst of Plymouth, Ill.
O’Connor earned a bachelor’s degree in Ag Economics from the University of Illinois, is a Certified Crop Advisor, and has recently earned a Sustainability Specialist certification. In addition, O’Connor has spent 25 years serving Kankakee County as a Director with the Soil and Water Conservation District. He routinely opens his farm to Legislators, overseas grain buyers, college students and the urban community in order to share the story of modern agriculture.
O’Connor says he most looks forward to contributing to the Board’s efforts around conservation and sustainability.
“I am fortunate that my family has had a strong conservation ethic for several generations. This has grown in recent years to include annual use of cover crops in front of soybean production. With success of this program, I am now moving to diversify my cover crop selections and work towards more sustainable/regenerative practices,” O’Connor said. “With greater consumer emphasis on sustainability, I see opportunities to partner soybean production with emerging carbon market scenarios. As I see it, the future of soybean production looks promising. To move progressively forward, enough Illinois producers need to see the opportunities as well. I look forward to helping ISA tell that story.”
Holst attended the University of Illinois where he studied Agricultural and Biological Engineering. He is an American Soybean Association (ASA) Young Leader Program participant, and believes it’s his background in science, technology, engineering and math, along with a knowledge of how to effectively market a message, that make him well-equipped to serve the ISA Board.
“I’m excited to serve as an Illinois Soybean Board At-Large Board Director to make larger impacts on the agriculture industry than what I could do alone,” says Holst. “I have the skills and desire to make an actual difference to soybean growers, and being a member of the Illinois Soybean Board will be an effective way to make a positive change.”
The Illinois Soybean Association (ISA) checkoff and membership programs represent more than 43,000 soybean growers in Illinois. The checkoff funds market development, soybean innovation and profitability efforts, 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 www.ilsoy.org.
— Illinois Soybean Association
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