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An ASA update with Rob Shaffer

EL PASO – Soybean industry leaders have been busy discussing renewable fuel volumes for the Renewable Fuel Standard on biodiesel and ethanol.

“We are always pushing to keep those volumes up so we keep demand for both corn and soybeans,” explained Rob Shaffer, who represents Illinois on the American Soybean Association board.

Shaffer says they are trying to keep those industries, taxes and jobs here in the U.S. ASA is always trying to keep tools in the chemical toolbox for growers, such as Enlist and Dicamba. Endangered species is another ongoing issue.

ASA lobbies legislators, the White House and USDA on behalf of American soybean farmers, about policies such as the Farm Bill and Waters of the United States (WOTUS).

Shaffer farms south of El Paso and around Lake Bloomington. He had a good fall and safe harvest last year.

“I’ve got 10 toes, 10 fingers and everybody is still walking, so we’re good.”

He has started looking over equipment for spring and making a list of what to fix or update.

“That’ll start before I know it,” Shaffer said of spring planting season.

Commodity Classic in Orlando is next on Shaffer’s agenda. He will be there for a week then will return home where he hopes to be in the field a couple of weeks after that.

Born and raised in Chenoa, Shaffer graduated from Chenoa High School in 1987 before attending Joliet Junior College and Illinois State. He later moved back to the family farm that was bought in 1920.

A phone call from two fraternity brothers years ago started Shaffer’s advocacy efforts for soybean growers. They were both serving with Illinois Soybean Association at the time and one was looking to retire.

“He was expanding his farming operation at the time and didn’t have time to continue his next three years with Illinois Soy,” recalled Shaffer.

When receiving the initial call in the spring of 2010, Shaffer wasn’t even a member of Illinois Soy at the time.

“I guess it was education by fire but it’s been a great deal ever since.”

Shaffer was on the Illinois Soybean Association board for six years and retired in 2016, which is when he started with the American Soybean Association. He is currently in his last term on ASA and will be done in three years.


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