Does an individual, organization or group come to mind that’s left a lasting mark on the soybean industry and the soy checkoff? United Soybean Board (USB) announces today a call for nominations for the Tom Oswald Legacy Award. In its second year, this annual award honors the late Tom Oswald, who will always be remembered as a passionate farmer-leader and dedicated volunteer. The award recognizes someone who went above and beyond to move research and promotion investments forward in an unconventional way.

An Iowa soybean and corn farmer, Oswald served eight years as a USB director and three years on the USB executive committee. He frequently posed the question, “How do we make it better-er?” — meaning what extra steps, thoughts, and efforts could the checkoff take to go beyond expectations and provide the best possible outcome?
“Tom embodied kindness, innovation, and forward-thinking, and most of all asked the tough questions, which are qualities we seek in the recipient of this award. Within our soy community, we are fortunate to have leaders who ensure we’re stewarding farmer checkoff dollars to their full potential,” said Meagan Kaiser, USB chair and Missouri farmer“We anticipate receiving numerous worthy nominations and eagerly await the opportunity to celebrate an exceptional leader who’s paving the path for a more prosperous and sustainable future for U.S. soybean farmers.”

Kenneth Bader, Ph.D., won the esteemed inaugural award in 2023. While nominated by several of his peers and for many reasons, the emphasis was his tenure for 16 years as CEO of the American Soybean Association. Many claim that without Bader there wouldn’t be a national soy checkoff, and that his drive and exploration helped to grow the industry for all U.S. soybean farmers.

If there is an organization, group or individual that you believe should be recognized for their efforts and passion for this industry, visit the USB website to submit your nomination. Nominations will close on Jan. 8, 2024, and the award will be presented at Commodity Classic in March 2024.

In one of Oswald’s final interviews with his local TV station KMEG-TV on its “Proud to be a Hometown Farmer” segment, he encouraged farmers to serve on the soy checkoff. He spoke from the heart saying, “The rewards are not financial, the rewards are hard to describe because it’s that intangible. Working with other farmers, locally, nationally, it’s that bigger picture. Working with city people who do not know a thing about agriculture and making a connection — you can’t be paid for that. It’s wonderful.”