American Soybean Association presents awards during Commodity Classic

Soybean industry leaders from across the country, including several from the upper Midwest, were honored during the event in New Orleans.

Several soybean leaders from the upper Midwest were honored during 2022 Commodity Classic.
Erin Ehnle Brown / Grand Vale Creative LLC

New Orleans — The American Soybean Association gave out numerous awards during Commodity Classic in New Orleans, including honoring several upper Midwest soybean leaders.

The American Soybean Association represents U.S. soybean farmers on domestic and international policy issues important to the soybean industry.

ASA gave Nancy Johnson, North Dakota Soybean Growers Association executive director, its Distinguished Leadership Award. The ASA Distinguished Leadership Award recognizes a soybean grower or association staff leader who has shown a high level of dedication and successfully led others to meet goals and achieve successes to benefit soybean farmers.

A woman is smiling and leaning toward the camera. She is wearing a greenish colored jacket and dark shirt.
Nancy Johnson
Courtesy / Betsy Armour

Johnson has served in her position for eight years, during which time ASA says Johnson has focused on enhancing communication, engagement and vision, including creating relationships and support soybean farmers, industry stakeholders and community organizations to strengthen the North Dakota soybean industry.

The ASA also lauded Johnson for building the North Dakota Soybean Growers Association membership base, increasing engagement, implementing a strong strategic vision for the association, promoting education and advocacy, and more.


"Johnson’s dedication, dependability and strong positive approach to her work have made her an exemplary executive leader at the North Dakota Soybean Growers Association and an asset to the soybean industry at large," the ASA said.

Outstanding State Volunteer Award

Bob Worth
Bob Worth
Courtesy / John Whitman

ASA honored Bob Worth, Lake Benton, Minnesota, with its Outstanding State Volunteer Award. The Outstanding Volunteer Award recognizes the dedication and exemplary contributions of volunteers with at least three years of volunteer service in any area of their state association operation.

Worth has been a member and volunteer of the Minnesota Soybean Growers Association for more than 25 years, serving in various roles, including president, secretary and treasurer. He’s currently vice president of MSGA and chair of the organization’s membership team.

ASA said Worth has been recognized as a top recruiter multiple times. At the national level, Worth previously served as an ASA director and vice president, in addition to sitting on numerous ASA committees during his years on the board.

"With his vast leadership experience, Worth is well-versed on soybean policy issues and always ready and willing to talk with legislators, administrators, media and other farmers about those issues," ASA said.

Worth helped lead the effort in Minnesota to advance B2 when it became law in 2005 and continues to champion biodiesel and help educate others on its benefits. He was instrumental in organizing and leading his state association’s Drift Task Force in 2017 to address dicamba issues.

In addition to his policy work, Worth is a strong advocate for farmer mental health. He is vocal about encouraging more resources for farmers and often offers a listening ear to anyone who may be struggling.

Conservation Legacy Award

Wayne Fredericks
Courtesy / Iowa Soybean Association

ASA presented Wayne and Ruth Fredericks from Osage, Iowa, with the 2022 National Conservation Legacy Award.


The Conservation Legacy Awards program is a national program designed to recognize the outstanding environmental and conservation achievements of soybean farmers that help produce more sustainable U.S. soybeans. Along with ASA, the program is co-sponsored by BASF, Bayer, Nutrien, the United Soybean Board/Our Soy Checkoff and Valent.

Fredericks calls himself the “accidental conservationist.” When he started farming in 1973, he believed a fully conventional tillage operation was the only way to go. But after nearly 20 years, Mother Nature stepped in and upended those plans on the Osage, Iowa, farm, turning Fredericks into a lifetime proponent of all things conservation.

“Our land needed the plow to raise soybeans successfully, or so I thought,” he said. “For the first 19 years, I plowed all my cornstalks ahead of soybeans, and I worked all my soybean stubble ahead of corn. In the winter of 1991, I was faced with a challenge I had yet to encounter. My farmland froze early, and I had not gotten my cornstalks plowed. What was I going to do?”

On the advice of his John Deere dealer, Fredericks planted his soybeans with a drill the following season. Fredericks never looked back, and today after almost 50 years farming with his wife, Ruth, the 756-acre farm of corn and soybeans is in a no-till/strip-till rotation. The farm also includes about eight acres of pollinator habitat enrolled in the Conservation Reserve Program.

The following individuals were recognized for receiving regional Conservation Legacy Awards during the awards program.

Wayne Fredericks , Osage, Iowa (Midwest Region)

Brian and Jamie Johnson , Frankfort, South Dakota (Upper Midwest Region)

Shane Burchfiel, Dyersburg , Tennessee (South Region)


Grier Stayton , Lincoln, Delaware (Northeast Region)

A national selection committee, composed of soybean farmers, conservationists, agronomists and natural resource professionals, evaluated nominations based on each farmer’s environmental and economic program.

Pinnacle Award

The ASA recognized John Gordley with its top honor, the Pinnacle Award. Gordley has worked four decades on farm policy matters for crops such as soybeans, canola and wheat.

The Pinnacle Award is an industry-wide recognition of a lifetime of work that demonstrates the highest level of contribution and leadership within the soybean family and industry.

In addition to five years on Senate Majority Leader Bob Dole’s staff, where he was responsible for agriculture and agricultural trade issues, Gordley served as special assistant for policy development in the Reagan White House.

In 1987, Gordley established Gordley Associates, providing government relations services, with a focus on areas related to agriculture. ASA contracted with Gordley Associates in 1992 and Gordley developed a team of professionals with varied expertise to meet ASA’s needs and policy goals in Washington D.C.

"During his 28 years providing representation for ASA, Gordley and his team provided critical assistance in the fight to make soybeans competitive with other crops under the farm bill. He developed plans for legislative acceptance of biodiesel as a renewable energy source, resulting in the biodiesel tax credit, and directed legislative efforts to recognize the health benefits of soy foods by the Food and Drug Administration for inclusion in government programs," ASA said.

The association also said Gordley led his team in supporting ASA efforts to expand the market for biotechnology and plant breeding innovations, in addition to enhancing foreign markets through trade policy and export promotion programs.

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