The American Soybean Association (ASA) has unveiled its new online Advocacy Training Center that teaches basic skills and protocols for advocating farmer-friendly policy to elected officials.

It is also designed to encourage more farmers to get actively involved in the political process by showing how easy it can be to participate and be successful in grassroots advocacy.

“Decisions made on Capitol Hill have a direct impact on the production and profitability of all U.S. soybean farmers,” said ASA vice-president Joe Steiner, a soybean farmer from Mason, Ohio, and Chairman of ASA’s Membership & Corporate Relations Committee. “Our goal with the Advocacy Training Center is to show farmers it’s easy to participate in the policymaking process and to motivate them to get involved.”

Steiner and the 12 other soybean farmers who serve on the ASA Membership & Corporate Relations Committee of the ASA Board of Directors were provided an opportunity to review and comment on the new training resource before the site was made available to ASA members, State Soybean Affiliates and the general public.

“As the policy advocate for U.S. soybean farmers, it is ASA’s mission to get members involved in the policymaking process,” Steiner said. “Grassroots advocacy is critical to the success of soybean farmers, and we need more farmers to get involved in that process.”

The training experience is divided into four modules: Effective Advocacy, Ethics and Fundraising, Communicating with Congress, and Meeting with Elected Officials. Each module takes only 10 to 15 minutes to complete, and each module features an interactive self-test at the end so growers can see what they have learned. In addition, Advocacy Resources and a Help Center are also provided, as well as links to interviews with ASA leaders and policy staff, and external links to additional materials.

Access ASA’s Advocacy Training Center at: http://www.SoyGrowers.com/programs/advocacy.htm.

The author of the Advocacy Training Center is ASA communications director Bob Callanan with input from ASA Washington representative Beverly Paul and Agri/Washington consultant Paul Weller. ASA director of marketing and planning, Jill Wagenblast provides the narration for each training module. ASA president Johnny Dodson, a producer from Halls, Tenn., ASA chairman John Hoffman, a producer from Waterloo, Iowa, and ASA past-president Rick Ostlie are among the featured videos within the training modules. The graphically-rich training cells feature many photographs of ASA leaders, members and members of Congress.