“I like the fact that I’m growing a crop that is used directly for human food,” says David Iverson, a soybean grower from Astoria, S.D., and one of four farmers and ranchers recently recognized with a Master Farmer award from Dakota Farmer.
Master Farmer is the oldest farmer award program in the U.S. It recognizes active agricultural producers for their farm and ranch achievements and their civic contributions.
Iverson, 53, is chairman of the World Initiative for Soy in Human Health (WISHH) and is on the board of directors of the World Soybean Foundation.
WISHH, a program of the American Soybean Association, develops markets for soybeans by using soy protein to help feed hungry. It also provides education, research and market development related to using soy to enhance the protein content and calorie in diets. WISHH has worked in 28 developing countries in Africa, Asia and Central America in recent years.
Iverson also serves on the board of directors of the World Soy Foundation, a non-profit charity started by the WISHH that strictly does humanitarian work. Its mission is to reduce malnutrition “using the power of soy,” Iverson says. The organization is funded by donations from individuals and private companies.
This year, Iverson toured Uganda, Ghana and South Africa where WISHH has projects. He and his wife, Miriam, went to Africa early and spent a week at Village of Hope in Uganda, a mission that his sister and brother-in-law helped build and now operate. The Iversons joined their daughter, Victoria, and three of their nieces who were spending the summer working at the Village of Hope. Dave’s and Miriam’s children, Nathan, 23; Victoria, 20; and Grace, 17, have all travelled on a number of mission/humanitarian trips, both in and outside of the U.S. Miriam’s parents, who live in Alberta, Canada, are involved in international aid work, too.
Iverson’s background in humanitarian projects has been invaluable, says Jim Hershey, WISHH executive director. “He has seen hunger first hand and understands how we can use the power of soy to alleviate hunger and build markets.”
Iverson says, “it’s rewarding to know that farmers in South Dakota can make a difference in the lives of people half way around the world.”
You can nominate someone to for the 2013 Master Farmer award. Send an email to me at firstname.lastname@example.org explaining why the person you know deserves to be recognized.
Read about other members of the 2012 Master Farmers class.