America Soybean Association is celebrating its “First Soy Century” as it recognizes its 100th anniversary throughout 2020.
ASA traces its roots to Sept. 3, 1920, when nearly 1,000 farmers from six states gathered at the Taylor, Noah and Finis Fouts' Soyland Farms operation in Camden, Indiana, to learn more about the emerging commodity called soybeans.
The National Soybean Growers’ Association—later renamed the American Soybean Association—was formed that day in Indiana. Taylor Fouts was elected as the first president.
In the century since, ASA has focused on sustaining and improving the prospects and opportunities for profitability for U.S. soybean farmers.
Throughout the years, ASA has worked on a variety of issues including:
- Helping remove interstate commerce restrictions and protect domestic markets for U.S. soybeans and soy food products.
- Improving soybean grading standards in order to meet the quality demands of domestic processors and international soybean buyers.
- Working with USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service to initiate market development projects for U.S. soy and soy products. The project started in a few countries in the mid-1950s and has grown to more than 100 countries.
- Funding initial research that led to dozens of new uses for soy-based products—from paint to printer’s ink, from plastics to building materials.
- Working with the soybean processing industry to improve the quality, characteristics and value of U.S.-grown soybeans.
- Fostering the development, growth and engagement of state soybean associations.
- Creating a voluntary soybean farmer-investment program in 1948 that eventually led to the establishment of state soybean checkoff programs.
- Achieving passage of legislation creating a national soybean checkoff—managed by the farmer-led, USDA-appointed United Soybean Board.
- Ensuring that soybean farmers are heard when key legislation is being developed and debated.
Celebrating the ‘First Soy Century’
ASA plans a year of activities to celebrate the association’s centennial including:
- Activities at the 2020 Commodity Classic in San Antonio Feb. 27-29, including a gathering of more than 20 former ASA presidents, an exhibit booth featuring historical photos, artifacts and soy treats, and an annual banquet focused on the 100th anniversary.
- A policy-focused event on July 8, 2020, at the National Museum of American History in Washington, D.C.
- A dedication ceremony on Aug. 4, 2020, for an historical marker to be located on the Fouts family farm in Camden, Indiana.
- A forward-looking symposium entitled “The Next Soy Century” to be held on the campus of Purdue University on Aug. 5, 2020.
- A website dedicated to the 100th anniversary at ASA100Years.com.
- A commemorative book outlining the history and achievements of ASA over the past century.
- A wrap-up celebration at the ASA board meeting in December 2020.