A new initiative, the Soy Transportation Coalition, has been formed to solve current and impending transportation challenges affecting the soybean industry. It was established by the coalition of seven state soybean associations--the Illinois Soybean Association, Indiana Soybean Alliance, Iowa Soybean Association, Nebraska Soybean Board, North Dakota Soybean Council, Ohio Soybean Council and South Dakota Soybean Research and Promotion Council. The American Soybean Association and the United Soybean Board have also committed resources.

“This is a timely effort, given the realignment of acres and expansion of the biofuels industry,” said Kirk Leeds, CEO of the Iowa Soybean Association. Many factors are increasing pressure on the rail network and other transportation systems. Farmers have a lot at stake and they will play a critical role in finding solutions to these issues.”

The coalition has named Mike Steenhoek, who worked under U.S. Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, for the past eight years its first executive director. Steenhoek will lead daily operations, raising awareness about the Soy Transportation Coalition and the importance of transportation issues to soybean growers and processors.

“Mike was selected due to his extensive background in policy and regulatory work,” said John Hoffman, a soybean farmer from Waterloo, Iowa, and president of the American Soybean Association. “These experiences will allow him to represent the soybean industry in the effort to improve our nation's transportation system for soybean farmers and processors.”

"I am appreciative and excited to have the opportunity to work on behalf of soybean farmers on this new initiative. The state and national associations who established the Soy Transportation Coalition have demonstrated true leadership and a commitment to the future profitability of the industry," said Steenhoek.

“Agriculture today is high-tech and we need a constant and reliable transportation system to move our products to market and on to customers,” added Steenhoek. It’s important for the agriculture industry to not only be concerned with what we grow, how we grow it and who purchases it, but also how we get it there.”