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ASA Recognizes Leaders During Commodity Classic

John Gordley is honored with the Pinnacle Award for lifetime achievement


The American Soybean Association (ASA) recognized John Gordley with its top honor during a ceremony in New Orleans at the Commodity Classic March 11.

The Pinnacle Award is an industry-wide recognition of a lifetime of work that demonstrates the highest level of contribution and leadership within the soybean family and industry.

Gordley has long been a fixture in ag policy on Capitol Hill. In addition to five years on Senate Majority Leader Bob Dole’s staff, where he was responsible for agriculture and agricultural trade issues, Gordley served as special assistant for policy development in the Reagan White House.

In 1987, Gordley established Gordley Associates, providing government relations services, with a focus on areas related to agriculture. ASA contracted with Gordley Associates in 1992 and Gordley developed a team of professionals with varied expertise to meet ASA’s needs and policy goals in Washington, D.C.

During his 28 years providing representation for ASA, Gordley and his team provided critical assistance in the fight to make soybeans competitive with other crops under the farm bill.

He developed plans for legislative acceptance of biodiesel as a renewable energy source, resulting in the biodiesel tax credit, and directed legislative efforts to recognize the health benefits of soy foods by the Food and Drug Administration for inclusion in government programs.

Gordley led his team in supporting ASA efforts to expand the market for biotechnology and plant breeding innovations, in addition to enhancing foreign markets through trade policy and export promotion programs.

Under Gordley’s direction, ASA’s credibility, access and engagement in Washington flourished and ASA leaders looked to John as a valued advisor and mentor.

The association also recognized Nancy Johnson, North Dakota, with its Distinguished Leadership Award.

Nancy Johnson Headshot Asa
Nancy Johnson

The ASA Distinguished Leadership Award recognizes a soybean grower or association staff leader who has shown a high level of dedication and successfully led others to meet goals and achieve successes to benefit soybean farmers.

For the past eight years as the executive director of the North Dakota Soybean Growers Association, Johnson’s leadership has focused on enhancing communication, engagement and vision.

Johnson has worked to create longstanding relationships and support among soybean farmers, industry stakeholders and community organizations to strengthen the North Dakota soybean industry.

She worked to build her state association’s membership base and increase engagement with farmers, in addition to working with the farmer-leaders to create and implement a strong strategic vision for the North Dakota Soybean Growers Association.

Johnson places significant importance on education and advocacy. She makes sure the farmers are given information they need and that they are represented and heard on policy issues impacting them at the state and national levels.

Johnson is a great proponent of providing farmers with leadership development opportunities, in addition to spearheading communication and education projects on issues like transportation, water management, trade, financial impacts, carbon opportunities, farm stress and more.

Johnson’s dedication, dependability and strong positive approach to her work have made her an exemplary executive leader at the North Dakota Soybean Growers Association and an asset to the soybean industry at large.

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