Allen County farmer Don Wyss has named to the Executive Committee of the United Soybean Board (USB) during its recent meeting in St. Charles, Missouri.
Wyss serves on the United Soybean Board with fellow Hoosiers Jim Douglas of Shelby County, Matthew Chapman of Henry County, and Tom Griffiths of Noble County.
In addition, the USB elected Steve Reinhard from Ohio as the 2024 chair and its additional farmer-leaders to serve on the Executive Committee.
The newly elected USB Executive Committee includes:
- Steve Reinhard, Chair – Ohio
- Ed Lammers, Vice Chair – Nebraska
- Philip Good, Secretary – Mississippi
- Brent Gatton, Treasurer – Kentucky
- Don Wyss – Indiana
- Matt Gast – North Dakota
- Gary Berg – Illinois
- April Hemmes – Iowa
- Susan Watkins – Virginia
- Lawrence Sukalski – Minnesota
- Meagan Kaiser, Past Chair (Ex Officio) – Missouri
Reinhard brings a wealth of knowledge and leadership. He has previously held positions as treasurer and vice chair, overseeing the value alignment committee responsible for charting the strategic direction of annual checkoff investments. Additionally, he served as a former chairman of the Ohio Soybean Council.
As the new Chair, Reinhard will explore opportunities to drive demand and environmental resilience, such as new industrial uses, expansion of soil health practices and growing export markets for food and feed. He believes market development and determining the value of technology are issues facing the soybean industry today, and he is ready to take on these challenges in the coming year.
“I’m honored and excited to take on the role of USB’s new board chair,” shares Steve Reinhard, the 2024 USB chair and Ohio farmer. “Together with the dedicated team and the support of our farmers, I look forward to continuing our commitment to sustainability and innovation in the soy industry. We’ll focus on driving positive change, leveraging research and investments to meet consumer demands, and furthering the success of American soybean farmers.”
Along with Reinhard serving as the new chair, the United Soybean Board recently announced the addition of a new CEO, Lucas Lentsch as its Chief Executive Officer starting January 1, 2024. Lentsch currently serves on the Dairy Management Inc. (DMI) leadership team, which manages the national dairy checkoff. USB’s board of farmer-leaders, representing more than 30 states, ratified the decision at its December board meeting.
Growing up on his family’s farm in South Dakota, promoting agriculture and serving farmers has always remained Lentsch’s true north. As an Executive Vice President at DMI, Lentsch liaised between national and local checkoff organizations, nationwide. He previously served as CEO at Midwest Dairy, a 10-state region. Lentsch was the South Dakota Secretary of Agriculture from 2013 to 2016 and is a proud Veteran of Operation Iraqi Freedom, serving as a Commanding Officer with the Army National Guard. Lentsch holds a Master of Business Administration from the University of Minnesota, Carlson School of Management, and a Bachelor of Science in Agriculture from South Dakota State University.
Lentsch, alongside USB board members, staff, and partners, remarks, “American agriculture has never been stronger, with soy playing a vital and proven role across sectors – be it in animal agriculture, food supply chains, or advancing energy independence through biofuels. The soy checkoff is the farmer’s essential voice in the marketplace. It will be a privilege to serve America’s soybean farmers and continue driving value through sustainable soy solutions.”
The USB board members and staff outlined their CEO criteria, emphasizing leadership, strategic acumen, adept staff and program management, and a strong connection to agriculture and soy. In interviews with the Search and Selection Committees—comprising farmer-leaders—Lentsch surpassed these expectations. The executive search firm Kincannon & Reed facilitated the selection process.
“Lucas Lentsch is the right leader, at the right time, to continue the meaningful work of the soy checkoff and fulfill our vision of delivering sustainable soy solutions to every life, every day,” said Meagan Kaiser, outgoing chair of the United Soybean Board and CEO Selection Committee Chair. “He is a true thought leader and collaborator with a wealth of checkoff program knowledge, deep agricultural roots, and comprehensive experience across the farm-to-food value chain.”
Lentsch is the proud father of four grown children and will relocate to the United Soybean Board’s headquarters in Chesterfield, Missouri.
Source: United Soybean Board