Jim Hershey concluded 26 years of regional and global market development leadership by announcing his departure as World Initiative for Soy in Human Health (WISHH) executive director on Oct. 19.
Hershey has accepted the assignment to be ASA/WISHH’s Chief of Party (CoP) for the newly launched USDA Food for Progress-funded CAST project in Cambodia. Hershey and his wife will move to Phnom Penh within the next few months.
“Under new leadership, WISHH will continue to connect trade and development in partnership with the U.S. soybean industry, our customers and the public sector, such as USDA and USAID,” Hershey said. “As the CAST CoP, I will be able to help build a vibrant aquaculture value chain in Cambodia while expanding agricultural trade for soy, including from the U.S., One of the best parts of this new assignment is the continuing relationship with so many outstanding colleagues, farmers and industry partners.”
American Soybean Association (ASA) CEO Ryan Findley hailed Hersey for his steadfast leadership.
“Jim has been the steady hand guiding WISHH since its inception and his commitment to the soy family is to be commended,” said ASA CEO Ryan Findlay.
Hershey began with ASA in 1992 as Division Director for Central Europe, Former Soviet Union and Middle East/North Africa. In 2001, he accepted the assignment as executive director of the newly formed WISHH Program, a Qualified State Soybean Board (QSSB)-funded program housed at ASA to promote increased trade in soy protein in foods and human diets in developing countries. Over the next ten years, Hershey, a growing staff and the farmer-led WISHH Committee, expanded the budget from $1 million per year to close to $10 million per year, thanks to its first Food for Progress project.
Since that time, WISHH has expanded into feed and animal agriculture-oriented strategies that connect trade and development among the U.S. soy industry, U.S. government development programs and business links in emerging markets. WISHH’s support base of nine founding QSSBs in 2001 has more than doubled to 20 QSSBs allocating soybean checkoff funds to WISHH.
The World Initiative for Soy in Human Health (WISHH) builds U.S. soy trade through the improvement of health, nutrition, and food security in emerging markets. The WISHH program carries a focus on trade and long-term market development for U.S. soybean farmers, while fueling economic growth and value chain development.
Since its creation in 2000, WISHH has been enhancing the protein intake of many nations through market development, education and research.