Worth, Gaesser continue their roles with American Soybean Association

Minnesota and Iowa representatives on the American Soybean Association's executive committee maintained their positions during recent elections.

Bob Worth

Minnesota and Iowa representatives on the American Soybean Association's executive committee maintained their positions during recent elections.

Bob Worth of Lake Benton, Minn., and Ray Gaesser of Corning, Iowa, were re-elected vice presidents. They share the title with Richard Wilkins from Delaware and Wade Cowan of Texas.

They are four of nine people who make up ASA's executive committee.

The organization represents U.S. soybean farmers on domestic and international issues.

Elections were held Dec. 7 at ASA's winter Board of Director's meeting in St. Louis.


The next farm bill will be a top ASA priority in 2012. The organization wants to maintain federal crop insurance with a form of easily understood revenue assistance for the gap not covered by insurance, said Worth.

Bob Worth

This will be Worth's second, one-year term as vice president. As chairman of the Membership and Corporate Relations committee, his hope is to see membership grow.

ASA has approximately 21,000 members.

"Everything that we're doing now in agriculture has some kind of policy around it," said Worth. "If you want a say in Washington, D.C., you need to have a spokesperson there and that's what ASA does."

The committee's relationship with, and financial support from industry partners - such as seed companies, chemical companies, processors and bankers - helps ASA have the largest voice possible in Washington. By helping each other to be successful, corporate relationships can improve the farmer's bottom line, said the past president of Minnesota Soybean Growers Association.

He was chairman in 2011 of a biodiesel task force, which pushed for extension of the federal $1 per gallon biodiesel tax credit. ASA wants the blender's tax credit changed to a producer's credit to ensure that benefits will go to the American biodiesel industry instead of foreign companies.

Worth continues to serve on the planning committee for Commodity Classic, a gathering of soybean, corn, wheat and sorghum growers. He will lead the planning committee for the 2013 Classic.


He also represents ASA on the National Biodiesel Board and on a task force that meets with railroad representatives.

Worth and his son, Jon, grow soybeans, corn and spring wheat on 2,300 acres.

"If it wasn't for Jon and my family - my wife, Gail, and daughter-in-law, Shanna - I wouldn't be able to do what I do. It takes a full family support. I'm gone anywhere from 60 to 100 days a year...that's volunteer. I don't get paid. I do it because I believe in it," he said.

Ray Gaesser

Ray Gaesser is beginning his fourth term as an ASA vice president. Among his assignments is serving on the Public Affairs committee that deals with policy. He is chairman for its regulatory issues sub-committee.

"I've been working on regulatory issues involving new technology, or EPA issues or foreign market regulations. Those kinds of things is what I focus on a lot," said the past president of Iowa Soybean Association.

One of his priorities in 2012 will be to voice soybean producers' stance on unwanted regulatory actions that could hurt the competitive edge for soybean growers and U.S. agriculture in general.

He also wants to reduce the time it takes for new seed traits to reach the market. Fifteen years ago, it took 12-15 months to get through America's regulatory system, he said. Now, it can take up to four years.


In addition to the biodiesel tax credit, ASA wants to continue the mandates for biodiesel usage through the Renewable Fuel Standard, he said.

"It's a great opportunity for me," he said of serving in a leadership role at ASA. "And the ability to serve is important to me and also you learn a lot, you get to help create new farm bills and to stimulate agriculture, to benefit soybeans around the world."

Gaesser operates a 5,800 acre farm and raises 2,900 acres of soybeans and 2,900 acres of corn.

"It's a great privilege and an honor to be part of the American Soybean Association and to be elected by your peers," said Gaesser. "...Our focus is to do the right thing for soybean farmers and improve their opportunities."

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