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  • Kent Casson

Chenoa native passionate about soybeans

Rob Shaffer shown at the Illinois Soybean Summit in Champaign last month.

A 1987 Chenoa High School graduate is making waves in the soybean industry.

Rob Shaffer currently represents Illinois on the American Soybean Association board, previously serving with the Illinois Soybean Association for six years.

A phone call from two fraternity brothers years ago started Shaffer’s agricultural advocacy efforts. They were both serving on the ISA board 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.

Shaffer wasn’t even a member of the Illinois Soybean Association when he received the phone call about serving on the board back in the spring of 2010.

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

Currently in his last term on ASA, Shaffer retired from the ISA board in 2016.

Following high school, Shaffer attended Joliet Junior College and Illinois State. He later moved back to the family farm that was bought in 1920. He farms south of El Paso and around Lake Bloomington.

Current issues for soybean industry leaders such as Shaffer include renewable fuel volumes for biodiesel and ethanol.

“We are always pushing to keep those volumes up so we keep demand for both corn and soybeans,” Shaffer explained.

ASA lobbies legislators, the White House and USDA on behalf of American soybean farmers, about policies such as the farm bill and WOTUS.

Shaffer had a good fall and safe harvest last year out in the field.

“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.

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