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United Soybean Board names incoming CEO

Dairy checkoff executive, former CEO at Midwest Dairy, South Dakota Secretary of Agriculture and U.S. military veteran Lucas Lentsch will serve as the United Soybean Board's next CEO.

Lucas Lentsch
Lucas Lentsch
United Soybean Board

The United Soybean Board (USB) announces that Lucas Lentsch will join the organization as its CEO starting January 1, 2024.

Lentsch currently serves on the Dairy Management Inc. (DMI) leadership team, which manages the national dairy checkoff. USB’s board of farmer-leaders, representing more than 30 states, ratified the decision at its December board meeting.

“Lucas Lentsch is the right leader, at the right time, to continue the meaningful work of the soy checkoff and fulfill our vision of delivering sustainable soy solutions to every life, every day,” said Meagan Kaiser, outgoing chair of the USB and CEO selection committee chair. “He is a true thought leader and collaborator with a wealth of checkoff program knowledge, deep agricultural roots, and comprehensive experience across the farm-to-food value chain.”

Growing up on his family’s farm in South Dakota, promoting agriculture and serving farmers has always remained Lentsch’s true north. As an executive vice president at DMI, Lentsch liaised between national and local checkoff organizations, nationwide. He previously served as CEO at Midwest Dairy, a 10-state region. Lentsch was the South Dakota Secretary of Agriculture from 2013 to 2016 and is aveteran of Operation Iraqi Freedom, serving as a commanding officer with the Army National Guard.

Lentsch holds a master of business administration from the University of Minnesota, Carlson School of Management, and a bachelor of science in agriculture from South Dakota State University.

“American agriculture has never been stronger, with soy playing a vital and proven role across sectors – be it in animal agriculture, food supply chains, or advancing energy independence through biofuels," said Lentsch. "The soy checkoff is the farmer’s essential voice in the marketplace. It will be a privilege to serve America’s soybean farmers and continue driving value through sustainable soy solutions.”

Executive committee elected

In related news, Steve Reinhard was elected 2024 chair and 10 additional farmer-leaders were elected to serve on the executive committee during the USB December meeting in St. Charles, Missouri.

"I'm honored and excited to take on the role of USB's new board chair," said Reinhard, an Ohio farmer. “Together with the dedicated team and the support of our farmers, I look forward to continuing our commitment to sustainability and innovation in the soy industry. We'll focus on driving positive change, leveraging research and investments to meet consumer demands, and furthering the success of American soybean farmers." 

The newly elected USB executive committee includes:

  • Steve Reinhard, Chair – Ohio
  • Ed Lammers, Vice Chair – Nebraska
  • Philip Good, Secretary – Mississippi
  • Brent Gatton, Treasurer – Kentucky
  • April Hemmes – Iowa
  • Matt Gast – North Dakota
  • Gary Berg – Illinois
  • Don Wyss – Indiana
  • Susan Watkins – Virginia
  • Lawrence Sukalski – Minnesota
  • Meagan Kaiser, Past Chair (Ex Officio) – Missouri

Reinhard brings a wealth of knowledge and leadership. He has previously held positions as treasurer and vice chair, overseeing the value alignment committee responsible for charting the strategic direction of annual checkoff investments. Additionally, he served as a former chairman of the Ohio Soybean Council.

As the new chair, Reinhard will explore opportunities to drive demand and environmental resilience, such as new industrial uses, expansion of soil health practices and growing export markets for food and feed. He believes market development and determining the value of technology are issues facing the soybean industry today, and he is ready to take on these challenges in the coming year. 

In addition to his experience serving on the board, Reinhard's background in agriculture will be valuable. He brings firsthand knowledge and expertise to the table growing soybeans, corn and hay alongside his brother Tim. Steve was previously an agricultural education teacher and FFA advisor. He served as a county commissioner in the Ohio House of Representatives and was a volunteer firefighter for 23 years.

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