Saying the issue needed to come to a resolution, Warren Stemme actually made the motion to make himself ineligible to be seated as a voting delegate and retained as a board member for the American Soybean Association's (ASA) meeting at Commodity Classic.
The requirements now in place for credentials at Saturday's delegate resolutions meeting: "The individual may not be an officer or director of any other national soybean policy and national soybean advocacy organization that is not duly affiliated with ASA or that lobbies in direct conflict with ASA policy.”
Stemme, a farmer and an ASA director from St. Louis County, Mo., vows to seat himself as a delegate at Saturday's meeting, even though he made the motion during an ASA Credential Committee conference call in early February.
He made the motion, he says, because he believes there is nothing in the bylaws that prohibits individual directors or delegates from belonging to a competing soybean association like the newly-formed U.S. Soybean Federation (USSF). Stemme is the vice president of USSF. ASA has said members of the USSF board of directors or its officers won't be allowed to vote on ASA policy.
"The conversation was going that way, and I knew where it was going,” Stemme said. He plans to try to be seated on Saturday, but he says he will not challenge the motion if he is not seated. There are as many as 10 potential delegates who may be impacted by this motion.
John Hoffman, the ASA chairman and a soybean farmer from Waterloo, Iowa, says he doesn't understand why Stemme would make the motion for the rule he intends to challenge. However, it is a motion Hoffman supports. "Why should we seat somebody who is actively working against ASA? Why would we allow them to vote on ASA policy? It just doesn't make sense to me.”
The Missouri and Minnesota state soybean associations are the two states driving the USSF start up in January. Missouri Soybean Association (MSA) Executive Director Dale Ludwig says his members involved in USSF will try to be seated, but will not create a scene at the meeting on Saturday if they are asked to step aside.
The ASA bylaws state that "no state soybean association may become or remain an affiliate of this Association if it is or becomes an affiliate of any soybean producer association other than the American Soybean Association.”
However, Hoffman says ASA will not take any action this week to remove MSA and MSGA from its affiliation with ASA.
For More Information
2009 Commodity Classic Coverage