Arkansas Soybean Promotion Board elects new officers

arkansas soybean board members
(Left to Right) Donald Morton of Prairie County, ASPB chairman; John Freeman of Desha County, ASPB vice chairman; and Doug Hartz of Arkansas County, ASPB secretary/treasurer.

During its recent board meeting, the Arkansas Soybean Promotion Board elected new officers to lead the organization.

Elected to chair the nine-member board is Donald Morton Jr. of Prairie County. John Freeman of Desha County was elected vice chair, with Doug Hartz of Arkansas County elected secretary/treasurer.

The three farmer-leaders will serve in their respective roles during the board’s 2021 fiscal year. Rusty Smith of Des Arc completed his term as board chairman in August and will serve this year as immediate past chair.

Donald Morton is a third-generation farmer from Des Arc. Morton started his operation in 1992 with 800 acres. Since then, he has grown his operation to 3,000 acres. Morton says becoming a member of the Arkansas Soybean Promotion Board has been eye-opening, and he has seen firsthand how his checkoff dollars are invested to educate stakeholders about the Arkansas soybean industry.

As chairman of the board, Morton’s priority is communicating to producers the importance of the checkoff through marketing, promotion and research.

“I look forward to serving our producers this year to ensure checkoff dollars are used wisely and invested to yield the greatest possible return,” Morton said. “The board remains committed to advancing the Arkansas soybean industry and its market objectives.”

Beyond his role with the ASPB, Morton also serves on the boards of other agriculture industry organizations including Riceland, the Arkansas Rice Council and Arkansas Rice Farmers.

As vice chairman of the ASPB, John Freeman of Dumas will assist in leading the board’s administration of the checkoff. Freeman planted his first soybean crop in 1989 after graduating from the University of Arkansas with a degree in ag business. This year, Freeman’s priority is to raise awareness about nematodes and to advocate for more research that will lead to better control options for producers.

Doug Hartz of Stuttgart is a living part of the Arkansas soybean industry’s history. Hartz’s grandfather introduced soybeans to Arkansas, planting the state’s first recorded crop in 1925. Today, Hartz carries on that family tradition.

As secretary/treasurer of the Arkansas Soybean Promotion Board, Hartz will work to ensure checkoff dollars are appropriately applied to new technology and research. Hartz is currently a board member of the Arkansas Soybean Association and is a past board member of the American Soybean Association.

The Arkansas Soybean Promotion Board contributed this article.

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