Dee holds a degree in animal industries from Clemson University.

She has three children: Rachel, 27, an activities director at an assisted living facility in West Palm Beach, Fla.; Seth, 25, who lives and works on the farm alongside his wife, Jodie, and their son, Mason; and Jesse, 25, who also works on the farm. Jesse is married to Leslie, and they have two children, Clay (6) and Carly (4).

The family attends the Corpus Christi Catholic Church in Macon, Miss. Dee’s husband, Ed Sikora, is a plant pathologist at Auburn University.

According to the most recent data from USDA, soybean acreage has more than doubled in Alabama since 2000, increasing from 190,000 acres in 2000 to more than 440,000 acres in 2009. That acreage had a value of nearly $179 million to the state’s economy.

Soybean production is vital to the U.S. economy as well. In 2010, according to USDA statistics, soybean exports accounted for 16 percent of the value of all U.S. agricultural exports that year.

The secretary selected the appointees from soybean producers nominated by qualified state soybean boards. All appointees will serve 3-year terms beginning December 2011. The board is authorized by the Soybean Promotion, Research and Consumer Information Act

The mandatory soybean research and promotion program is funded at the rate of one-half of 1 percent of the net market price of the soybeans purchased.

The board's goal is to strengthen the position of soybeans in the marketplace and to maintain and expand domestic and foreign markets and uses for soybeans and soybean products. USDA's Agricultural Marketing Service oversees the board.

Other board members appointed by Vilsack include Robert L. Stobaugh, Arkansas; James L. Stillman, Iowa; Larry K. Marek, Iowa; Dwain L. Ford, Illinois; Michael A. Beard, Indiana; Craig M. Gigstad, Kansas; Keith N. Tapp, Kentucky; Eugene L. Lowe, III, Maryland; R. Alan Moore, Michigan; Scott G. Singlestad, Minnesota; J. Willard Spargo, Missouri; James D. Sneed, Mississippi; Loyd L. Pointer, Nebraska; Daniel J. Corcoran, Ohio; Ellie W. Green, Jr., South Carolina; Robert J. Metz, South Dakota; John R. Butler, Tennessee; and Tom P. Rotello, Sr., Texas.

Other alternate members appointed include Scotty J. Herriman of Oklahoma and Fitzhugh L. Bethea, III of South Carolina.