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Ohio’s Steve Reinhard elected to lead United Soybean Board

He joins farmer-leaders chosen to serve on the USB executive committee, along with new CEO Lucas Lentsch.

Jennifer Kiel

December 29, 2023

3 Min Read
Steve Reinhard, Chair of the United Soybean Board Executive Committee
USB CHAIR: The United Soybean Board elected Steve Reinhard of Ohio as its 2024 chair during its December meeting in St. Charles, Mo. United Soybean Board

Finding new and expanded uses of soybean products to build value, demand and a return on investment for growers across the U.S. is the core mission of the United Soybean Board, says Steve Reinhard, who is an Ohio farmer and the newly elected chair of USB.

He has served in many roles — including former agriscience teacher, county commissioner and Ohio State representative — but he’s also been the voice of soybean growers for years, including serving in many positions on the Ohio Soybean Council and USB.

Reinhard farms about 1,300 acres in Bucyrus with the help of his brother Tim, raising corn, soybeans, wheat, malting barley and hay.

At USB, the focus is on driving positive change and leveraging research and investments to meet consumer demands, he says.

“It’s about furthering the success of American soybean farmers,” says Reinhard, who joins 10 additional farmer-leaders chosen to serve on the USB executive committee.

Reinhard is also excited to welcome Lucas Lentsch as USB’s new CEO. Lentsch, who takes the helm Jan. 1, previously served as executive vice president of Dairy Management Inc., which works with the national dairy checkoff program. He also previously served as CEO at Midwest Dairy.

Here are the members of the new USB executive committee:

  • Steve Reinhard, chair, Ohio

  • Ed Lammers, vice chair, Nebraska

  • Philip Good, secretary, Mississippi

  • Brent Gatton, treasurer, Kentucky 

  • April Hemmes, Iowa

  • Matt Gast, North Dakota

  • Gary Berg, Illinois

  • Don Wyss, Indiana

  • Susan Watkins, Virginia 

  • Lawrence Sukalski, Minnesota 

  • Meagan Kaiser, past chair (ex-officio), Missouri

Meeting world demand

“As the world continues to grow, so does the need for protein, and we have a great ability to produce it,” Reinhard says. “The challenge is getting it where it needs to go. We need to be involved with as many markets as possible to keep things moving while balancing risk.”

He has previously held USB positions as treasurer and vice chair, where he was charged with overseeing the value alignment committee, which guides the direction of annual USB checkoff investments.

Focused on environmental resilience and driving soybean demand, Reinhard says it’s exciting to build on industrial uses, soil health practices and growing export markets using soybean products for food, feed, fuel and more.

He wants to build on such concepts as Ohio’s Airable Research Lab, (supported by the Ohio Soybean Council), which opened a new business model and brand to capitalize on current research and to find new opportunities to expand the use of soy in household and commercial products.

“There, anyone with an innovative idea can work with chemists in a lab and conduct a demo to determine if they want to continue down the path to development,” explains Reinhard, who earned a bachelor’s degree from Ohio State University in agricultural economics and agricultural education.

He cites opportunities in the marine industry with the renewable diesel market and sustainable aviation fuel.

“We definitely have a position to play there,” Reinhard says. “It’s about creating value for the U.S. soybean farmer, through investments of checkoff dollars in promotion, education and research.”

Leadership and conservation

Reinhard is active in many agricultural groups, including Ohio Farm Bureau and the Crawford County Soil and Water Conservation District. In 2020, he joined an elite group by being named an Ohio Master Farmer by Ohio Farmer and Farm Progress.

Reinhard believes in conservation practices and has implemented waterways, buffers and drainage programs to conserve his soil and protect the environment. He grid-samples to prescription-apply nutrients, uses cover crops and has an array of tillage — including no-till, vertical till and some conventional tillage.

Ohio investments

Ohio has had some positive soybean processing expansions recently.

Cargill has completed an expansion and modernization project at its integrated soybean crush and refined oils facility in Sidney, Ohio.

In October 2023, the Louis Dreyfus Co. announced new construction of a soybean processing plant in Upper Sandusky, Ohio, with integrated crushing, vegetable oil refining, and lecithin production and packaging capabilities.   

Construction is expected to begin in early 2024. The new facility will employ more than 100 people.

“I’m very optimistic for the soybean industry,” Reinhard says. “Sure, we will have challenges, but new chemistries on soybean and traits have allowed us to see half-bushel increases a year, maybe a little more. Increased production is lining up to meet increased demand.”

About the Author(s)

Jennifer Kiel

Editor, Michigan Farmer

While Jennifer is not a farmer and did not grow up on a farm, "I think you'd be hard pressed to find someone with more appreciation for the people who grow our food and fiber, live the lifestyles and practice the morals that bind many farm families," she says.

Before taking over as editor of Michigan Farmer in 2003, she served three years as the manager of communications and development for the American Farmland Trust Central Great Lakes Regional Office in Michigan and as director of communications with Michigan Agri-Business Association. Previously, she was the communications manager at Michigan Farm Bureau's state headquarters. She also lists 10 years of experience at six different daily and weekly Michigan newspapers on her impressive resume.

Jennifer lives in St. Johns with her two daughters, Elizabeth, 19, and Emily 16.

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