The American Soybean Association (ASA) has confirmed five new members and extended the appointments of nine other soybean growers to lead ASA’s World Initiative for Soy in Human Health (WISHH) Program.

New appointments to the WISHH Committee are John Heisdorffer of Iowa, Lucas Heinen of Kansas, C.W. Gaffner and Dan Farney of Illinois, and Monica McCranie of South Dakota.

WISHH board members unanimously selected David Iverson of South Dakota as chair, Jared Hagert of North Dakota as vice-chair, Barb Overlie of Minnesota as secretary, and Pat Dumoulin of Illinois as treasurer.

ASA President Rob Joslin also confirmed extending the terms of Iverson, Hagert, Overlie, and Dumoulin, Scott Fritz and Darrel McGriff of Indiana, Bill Wykes of Illinois, Ken Bartlett of North Carolina, and Jack Trumbo of Kentucky.

"These soybean growers have the global vision to lead WISHH into its second decade of growth," said Joslin. "WISHH’s new strategic plan sets sail into unprecedented opportunity. Three powerful forces — more people, more demand for soy protein and more developing country buying power — make this an unparalleled time for WISHH’s market development activities."

The potential appetite for protein is projected to increase by 75 percent by 2025 compared to 2001, according to research from the National Soybean Research Laboratory.

Since U.S. soybean farmers founded WISHH in 2000, WISHH has worked in 23 countries to improve diets, as well as encourage growth of food industries. WISHH’s strategic plan to 2015 will build on these successes.

WISHH-assisted companies, like Imperial Foods in Cameroon, have invested millions of their own funds to add equipment and infrastructure so they can make soy-fortified pasta noodles and other products. Likewise in Kenya, a range of companies are increasing their sales each year by adding textured soy protein to improve the nutrition in foods that are already popular in the region. Last year alone, WISHH helped train employees from more than 100 companies and many received U.S. soy product samples.

In March of this year, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced that WISHH and three partnering organizations will receive a cooperative agreement for a $26 million project in Afghanistan. "WISHH is pleased to support USDA’s goals of rebuilding Afghanistan’s agricultural infrastructure and making healthy soyfoods available," said WISHH Executive Director Jim Hershey.

The WISHH program is managed from ASA’s world headquarters in Saint Louis. For more information, visit http://www.wishh.org.