The Wisconsin Soybean Association (WSA) marks a significant milestone as it celebrates 50 years of growth, innovation and dedication to Wisconsin soybean growers.
Reflecting on the journey from its inception to the present day, former WSA President and long standing member Tony Mellenthin, reminisced about the association’s transformation.
“From the early days of operating out of a corner in someone’s room to now having dedicated staff, our growth has been remarkable. Witnessing this evolution has been especially meaningful to me,” he expressed.
Over the years, significant trends have shaped the soybean industry, including heightened interconnectedness among growers and consumers, both locally and globally. Moreover, consumer demands for sustainable agricultural practices have surged, emphasizing the importance of environmentally conscious farming techniques.
Looking ahead to the next 50 years, the WSA remains committed to investing in initiatives that enhance value for soybean farmers, advocating for favorable policies, and exploring emerging markets for soybean products.
“It’s easy to find soy-based products once you know where to look as it really is everywhere,” he explains. “For example Skecher shoes. If the sole says goodyear, it is actually made with soy-based oil.”
Mellenthin is also currently serving as a director on the United Soybean Board and involved in their world initiative for soy and human health program. He says that for every $1 checkoff invested in the program, they get $20 from the USDA to invest in international development to help strengthen existing partnerships and explore new markets.
Countries like Nigeria present promising opportunities, driven by increasing nutritional needs and economic development.
“By prioritizing farmer engagement and emphasizing the importance of sustainable agriculture practices, the association aims to build trust and credibility among international partners.”