Farmers Seek Ouster of National Soybean Group’s Leaders
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) _ Farm groups from the nation’s two biggest soybean producing states are calling for the removal of the staff leaders of the industry’s top trade organization, citing budget and management disputes.
The American Soybean Association, headquartered in St. Louis, is made of up state associations of soybean growers and promotes the use of soybeans and soybean interests.
The no-confidence resolutions were adopted Wednesday by soybean groups in Illinois and on Monday by Iowa soybean groups. Illinois leads the nation in soybean production and Iowa, which is second, has the highest membership in the American Soybean Association.
The resolutions came after the release of the first part of an outside consultant’s report on the group and after financial difficulties that last week led to the temporary layoffs of 17 of the 90 employees at the group headquarters.
″It makes me feel like the coach of a winning team who loses a game only to have the largest donor ask he be fired,″ said Ken Bader, who has been the group’s chief executive for 14 years.
The resolutions also seek the immediate removal of Bader’s executive vice president, Steve Drake.
The ASA has about 33,000 dues-paying members and had to cut back on its staff when income from state affiliates fell a reported $1.3 million short of the budget adopted last summer.
″We just felt the budget problem should have been corrected earlier,″ said Gordon Wassenaar of Prairie City, the president of the Iowa Soybean Association. He also said there was dissatisfaction with the ASA’s preparations for a national soybean checkoff - in which producers contribute a portion of their sales receipts to soybean promotion.