Illinois Soybean Association Nominates Industry Leaders for National Recognition

Staff Writer
Aledo Times Record

The Illinois Soybean Association (ISA) board of directors today nominated four industry leaders to receive national recognition for their efforts.  W. Lyle Roberts, Jr., retired ISA CEO; C.W. Gaffner, ISA director from Greenville, Ill.; Philip Bradshaw, past United Soybean Board (USB) chairman from Illinois; and Bryan Hieser, soybean farmer from Minier, Ill., were recommended by the committee for several awards.

 W. Lyle Roberts, Jr., who retired from his position as ISA CEO on September 1, 2010, was nominated to receive the American Soybean Association's (ASA) Lifetime Achievement Association Focus Award.  Roberts worked for Illinois soybean farmers for more than 25 years and was part of Illinois agriculture for 40 years.  

"Lyle Roberts was a dedicated and passionate advocate for Illinois soybean farmers for his entire professional career.  Lyle helped create and oversaw development of many crucial programs including the World Initiative for Soy in Human Health (WISHH), the Council on Food and Agricultural Research (C-FAR), and other research programs and projects that had a direct profitability benefit for farmers in Illinois and across the United States," says Ron Moore, 2010-11 ISA chairman and soybean farmer from Roseville, Ill.

Roberts was a founder and first chairman of C-FAR and was founding chair and served on the Illinois Biotechnology Industry Organization (IBIO).  He participated on the Soy 2020 Vision Steering Committee, Southern Illinois University College of Agriculture Leadership Board, Illinois Ag-in-the-Classroom Executive Coalition and WISHH Committee.

C.W. Gaffner has been nominated for the ASA Lifetime Achievement/Membership Focus Award.  Gaffner is a long-time soybean and dairy producer, who has over the years welcomed many tours to his family's farm to help educate school-age children about agriculture.

Gaffner served as a member of Bond County Community Unit #2 School Board for 15 years and served as a board member and president of the Bond County Farm Bureau.  He is a member of the FFA Alumni Association and worked as an ag advisor to Congressman John Shimkus.

"C.W. has been a tireless promoter for ISA and for our programs.  I appreciate all C.W. has done as one of the most dedicated recruiters that ISA has ever had," says Moore.

Philip Bradshaw is Illinois' nominee for the ASA Meritorious Service Award.  Bradshaw is the immediate past chairman for the United Soybean Board (USB) chairman, WISHH and the World Soy Foundation.  He also serves QUALISOY and the U.S. Soybean Export Council and currently is vice chairman for the United States Farmers & Ranchers Alliance.

"Phil has always been seen as an outstanding leader for Illinois agriculture.  His knowledge and experience with soybean issues are unparalleled.  Phil has the ability to encourage people to perform at their highest levels for the betterment of our industry.  Phil has been the right leader at the right time for all of agriculture," says Moore.

Bradshaw is a past chairman of the Illinois Soybean Program Operating Board, Illinois Pork Producers Association and the United States Animal Health Association.  He holds a bachelor's degree in agriculture and business from Western Illinois University.  He and his son farm about 900 acres of corn, soybeans and wheat in Pike County and raise hogs.

Bryan Hieser has been nominated for the USB Outstanding Achievement Award.  Hieser was elected to USB's executive board for three years, serving as production chair, competitiveness chair and as a Qualisoy board member.  He helped lead the effort to get the soybean genome mapped and set up a national research and sentinel system for Asian soybean rust.

"Bryan is one of the best farmer leaders that I have ever known.  He was instrumental in helping develop some of the research programs that continue to produce results in Illinois and at the national level.  Bryan always looked at research projects from the farmer's point of view, and saw the benefit of those projects to the farmer," says Moore.

Hieser is a past vice chair, secretary and assistant secretary-treasurer for ISA, and was chair for three years of the North Central Soybean Research Program (NCSRP).  While NCSRP chair, Hieser provided leadership for activities involving soybean cyst nematode (SCN), biotechnology support, regional white mold and sudden death syndrome (SDS) research.

The Illinois Soybean Association (ISA) is the statewide organization for Illinois soybean growers.  The farmers on its board administer soybean checkoff funds to support research, promotions, and educational programs designed to increase demand for Illinois soybeans and administer legislation and membership programs. For more information, visit: