Kevin Scott will lead the organization for one year
By Diego Flammini
One of the U.S. ag industry’s national organizations selected its new president.
Kevin Scott, a cash crop producer from Valley Springs, S.D., is the new president of the American Soybean Association (ASA).
Hewill hold the position for one year before transitioning to the association’s chairman. He’s been part of the ASA for nine years and recently served as the organization’s vice-president.
Scott is the third South Dakotan to be president of the ASA.
Larry Diedrich headed the organization from 1993 to 1994 and Bob Metz held the presidency from 2005 to 2006.
As president, Scott will lead a membership that includes about 300,000 members of the soybean industry.
“It’s a great honor,” he told Farms.com.
The position will require Scott to be away from his 2,500-acre farm for about 175 days during the next calendar year.
Planning and having a good support system on the farm can help him juggle those responsibilities, he said.
“We try to avoid (meetings) during spring planting and fall harvest, and we do a lot of business between that,” he said. “The president doesn’t really have those options, but you hope there’s someone back on the farm who can handle the chores when you’re away.”
Scott enters his ASA presidency during a time of transition in the United States.
President-elect Biden and his administration will be inaugurated in early January.
There will be new faces on Capitol Hill as well as some familiar ones, Scott said.
“It’s a daunting task and our staff in Washington, D.C. is working hard right now to introduce themselves to the new players, including about 61 new people in the House of Representatives,” he said. “But some people, like (Secretary of Agriculture nominee) Tom Vilsack, we’ve dealt with in the past, have a great relationship with and pretty much know what to expect there.”
Regardless of who is in the White House, the industry has issues that need addressing.
Some topics are always part of the conversation while others reflect a new ag environment, Scott said.
“Trade is always at the top of our list as we export about 50 percent of what we produce here in the United States. If a farmer wants to be profitable, we have to get our products to market,” he said. “And carbon sequestration, where farmers could be part of the answer to global warming, is something we have to look at.”
Another item the ASA will navigate is the economic recovery from the COVID pandemic.
Multiple industry reps view agriculture as a key component to helping the U.S. rebound from the pandemic.
Scott shares those sentiments too.
“The lynchpin of almost all economies is the ag economy,” he said. “People need to eat, and farmers will be there to provide food. The industry is essential, and it will be there to feed and employ people.”
Members of Scott’s community celebrated his ascension to the ASA presidency.
After his election on Dec. 10, farmers and neighbors organized a surprise drive-by parade to congratulate him on his new role.
“They totally surprised me,” he said. “It was very nice.”
American Soybean Association photo