The American Soybean Association (ASA) returned to its roots this week to celebrate a century of representing U.S. soybean growers. ASA celebrated its 100th anniversary on the Indiana farm where it all started with a small but significant historical marker dedication and tours of heirloom soybean plots.
ASA was formed when brothers Taylor, Noah and Finis Fouts hosted the first Corn Belt Soybean Field Day at their “Soyland Farms” operation in Camden, Indiana, Sept. 3, 1920. Unlike today’s more quaint and socially distanced ceremony, that event drew nearly 1,000 farmers and their families from six states, all of whom were interested in discovering more about an emerging new commodity called soybeans. The National Soybean Growers’ Association—later renamed the American Soybean Association—was formed that very day.
The outdoor ceremony was streamed live for soy supporters to celebrate safely across the country. Originally planned was a group picture emulating a historic black and white photo of the original attendees, but instead, farm families from throughout the soybean states submitted dozens of photos for a special video montage leading up to the live event. Among those helping the organization celebrate in Indiana were USDA Deputy Secretary of Agriculture Steve Censky, who served the soy industry as ASA CEO for two decades, and Indiana governor Eric Holcomb, along with other notable guests from Purdue University, Indiana Soybean Alliance, the Fouts family and ASA’s past and present leadership.