In 2004, leaders of the Kentucky Soybean Association (KSA) set a goal of reaching 1,000 members and crossed that threshold for the first time this July.

KSA Communications DirectorJaime Vincent says that having group recruiting contests and individual contests topped off with a lot of fun helped the association reach the goal.

She also gives credit to having some of the best membership recruiters in the nation.

"People think we just instill fear into people by forcing them to eat sardines if their team loses a contest," said KSA President Keith Tapp, referring to one of the "prizes" of KSA’s membership recruiter programs.

"But we really have a lot of fun recruiting new members and we know it helps build the organization, which helps all soybean growers in the state. Recruiting members is an important part of being a leader in Kentucky."

Like many other state associations, KSA still has memberships coming due in the next couple of months, which marks the end of the American Soybean Association’s fiscal year.

To hold the number above 1,000 they have created a new contest for Board members that places them on teams based on the area of members that they represent.

KSA’s membership market share, based on U.S. Department of Agriculture data, is 24 percent. That’s three-to-six times that of neighboring states. Look for that number to increase — KSA has set a membership goal of 1,100 for next year.