Checkoff News

Architect of the Soy Checkoff Ken Bader Presented with Inaugural Tom Oswald Legacy Award

Kenneth Bader, Ph.D., holds the Tom Oswald Legacy Award while standing next to USB representatives Megan Kaiser and Susanne Oswald.

Meagan Kaiser, USB Chair, (L) and Susanne Oswald (R) present Ken Bader, Ph.D., (C) with the inaugural Tom Oswald Legacy Award during the American Soybean Association Awards Celebration at Commodity Classic in Orlando, Florida.

ST. LOUIS (March 15, 2023) — The United Soybean Board presented the inaugural Tom Oswald Legacy Award to Kenneth Bader, Ph.D., during the 2023 Commodity Classic in Orlando, Florida. The award recognizes Bader for his commitment and steadfast efforts to advance the soybean industry, most notably through his work that led to the creation of the United Soybean Board.

“I am humbled and honored to receive this award and am grateful to the farmer volunteers, staff and partners who continue to work on behalf of all U.S. soybean farmers,” said Bader. “I have immense respect for Tom Oswald, who dedicated his career to agriculture and was a strong advocate for our industry. Looking back on 30 years since the inception of the soy checkoff, biodiesel, sustainability and exports serve as bright spots for checkoff investments.” 

Bader promoted agriculture through many roles during his career. He is most well-known for his 16 years as CEO of the American Soybean Association. He received his bachelor’s, master’s and doctorate degrees from The Ohio State University. He later served as a professor and dean of students at The Ohio State University and vice chancellor at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. 

“Without Dr. Bader’s leadership, there would not be a national soy checkoff,” said Dave Drennan, former American Soybean Association regional manager. Drennan was one of several individuals who nominated Bader for the award. “Ken knew the demands and opportunities in this industry, and that reaching them would require a bold move that involved all U.S. soybean farmers.” 

The annual Tom Oswald Legacy Award, established by the United Soybean Board in honor of the late Tom Oswald, is bestowed on an individual, organization or group that has left a lasting mark on the soybean industry and the soy checkoff. Oswald served eight years as a farmer-leader and three years on the United Soybean Board Executive Committee. He frequently posed the question, “How do we make it better-er?” — meaning what extra steps, thoughts and efforts could the checkoff take to go beyond expectations and provide the best possible outcome. 

“Dr. Bader’s contributions to the checkoff and U.S. soybean industry are monumental. He exemplifies Tom’s legacy, and we all see the results of his relentless dedication and leadership to move research and promotion investments forward,” said Meagan Kaiser, USB Chair from Missouri. “Dr. Bader left the soybean industry ‘better-er.’ We are stronger because of his work.”

To learn more about Oswald and the Tom Oswald Legacy Award, visit Remembering ‘No-Till Tom.’

About United Soybean Board: United Soybean Board’s 77 volunteer farmer-leaders work on behalf of all U.S. soybean farmers to achieve maximum value for their soy checkoff investments. These volunteers create value by investing in research, education and promotion with the vision to deliver sustainable soy solutions to every life, every day across the three priority areas of Infrastructure & Connectivity, Health & Nutrition, and Innovation & Technology. As stipulated in the federal Soybean Promotion, Research and Consumer Information Act, the USDA Agricultural Marketing Service has oversight responsibilities for USB and the soy checkoff. For more information on the United Soybean Board, visit


Paul Murphy-Spooner at United Soybean Board, 515.975.6584.


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