The American Soybean Association celebrates its 90th year as the advocate and grassroots voice of the nation's soybean farmers in 2010. Since its creation in 1920 ASA has helped the soybean industry grow dramatically from about 1 million bushels of soybeans produced on around 113,000 acres at a value of about $4.5 million dollars in 1919 - to currently 3.25 billion bushels from 76.6 million acres with a value of more than $32 billion.
ASA President Johnny Dodson, a soybean grower from Tennessee, says the association makes sure the voices of soybean farmers are heard. In recent years he notes ASA has fought for biodiesel tax incentives, farmer-friendly provisions in the 2008 Farm Bill and worked on trade policy - all to improve the profitability of soybean farmers. Dodson says they continue to fight for producers now with climate change, environmental and energy bills being debated and a new farm bill debate on the horizon.
"If soybean farmers don't speak up for themselves," Dodson said, "No one will." He says the more members ASA has the louder and stronger its voice.