New Farmer Leaders Elected to Missouri Soybean Boards

The leadership team for Missouri soybean farmers is welcoming five new directors. The Missouri Soybean Merchandising Council board of directors recently added two new directors from Hannibal and Dexter, while the Missouri Soybean Association board of directors has three new representatives from Essex, Barnard and Bethany. The new directors will join their counterparts in guiding the investments of Missouri’s soy checkoff funds and the organizations policy, advocacy and membership efforts, respectively.

“It is outstanding to see the enthusiasm and dedication our newest farmer leaders bring,” said Missouri Soybean Association president Matt McCrate of Cape Girardeau. “Missouri has long been a leader for soybeans and soy-products, including biodiesel, and we see great opportunities ahead in our policy and member services to make a difference in both farmers’ bottom line and their freedom to operate. Our leadership team is proud to serve the farmers of our state.”

Those new farmer leaders include John Hunter, of Essex, who was elected to represent southeastern Missouri’s District 7 on the Missouri Soybean Association board of directors. Andrew Lance, of Barnard, was elected to represent District 1 in northwestern Missouri. Renee Fordyce of Bethany was appointed to fill the remaining term of retiring director Steve Alexander, also from District 1. Her appointment will be effective June 1.

Hunter was nominated by Peter Rost Jr. of New Madrid, and elected by unanimous voice vote during a meeting of local growers held in Sikeston. He replaced Larry Strobel of Bell City, who retired from the board after decades of service. Lance was nominated by Steve Alexander of Hopkins, to replace T. Brooks Hurst of Tarkio, who also retired due to term limits.

“We take our responsibilities to the growers and for the soybean checkoff very seriously,” said Missouri Soybean Merchandising Council chairman David Lueck of Alma. “We look forward to the addition of these growers’ leadership and experience to our efforts to ensure Missouri farmers have access to the most up-to-date research information and continue to benefit from new market opportunities for their soybeans.”

Mark Lehenbauer of Hannibal was elected to represent northern Missouri’s District 3 on the Missouri Soybean Merchandising Council board of directors. Aaron Porter of Dexter was elected to represent District 7 in southeastern Missouri.

Lehenbauer and Porter were nominated by Missouri Farm Bureau and MFA, Inc. They were selected by a vote of soybean farmers in the region, via mail-in ballot in an election overseen by the Missouri Department of Agriculture. They replace long-time Missouri Soybean Merchandising Council board members Will Spargo of Neeleyville and Jim Underhill of Palmyra, who are retiring due to term limits.

Current directors John Kelley of Faucett (Dist. 1) and Bob Littleton of Dalton (Dist. 2) were re-elected to the Missouri Soybean Merchandising Council board. Current Missouri Soybean Association board director Kelly Forck of Jefferson City (Dist. 5) was also re-elected.

Committee assignments for Missouri Soybean Merchandising Council and Missouri Soybean Association directors will be determined during the summer board meetings, currently being planned for the last week of July. New board members will begin their roles during those meetings.

The Missouri Soybean Merchandising Council is currently chaired by David Lueck of Alma. John Kelley of Faucett serves as the vice-chair. Matt McCrate of Cape Girardeau presides over the Missouri Soybean Association, with C. Brooks Hurst of Tarkio serving as the Association vice-president.

The Missouri Soybean Merchandising Council is a statewide, farmer-led organization working to improve opportunities for Missouri soybean farmers though a combination of research, outreach, education and market development efforts supported by the soy checkoff. The Missouri Soybean Association is a statewide membership organization designed to increase the profitability of Missouri soybean farmers through policy, advocacy and education efforts across the state. To learn more, visit