Worthington farmer named ASA president

Bill Gordon’s big moment has finally arrived.

Fifteen years after he became a state director in his home state of Minnesota, Nobles County farmer Bill Gordon was elevated to president of the American Soybean Association (ASA) Thursday during the organization’s December board meeting. 

“This is very rewarding,” Gordon says. “It’s been a long journey since 2004 and I’m excited for this opportunity. 2020 is going to be an exciting year.”

Gordon, a Worthington native, is the sixth Minnesota farmer to serve as ASA president and the 82nd in the advocacy organization’s history. He previously served as ASA vice president. 

Gordon started his agricultural leadership career in 2004 as an ASA Young Leader, later becoming vice president of the Minnesota Soybean Growers Association (MSGA). During his seven years on the ASA board, Gordon has delved into public affairs, biodiesel and transportation issues, environmental stewardship and international marketing. In 2019 alone, he represented ASA and Minnesota farmers on international trade missions to Southeast Asia and South America. 

Gordon, his wife, Dr. Dawn Gordon, and his parents, Galen and Colleen, grow corn and soybeans on their 2,000-acre family farm; an additional 400 acres are set aside for buffer strips and wetlands. In 2019, Bill’s family was named Nobles County’s 2019 “Farm Family of the Year” by the University of Minnesota. The Gordons live on the fourth-generation family farm that celebrates its 100th anniversary in 2020. ASA is also celebrating its centennial in 2020.  Gordon is the owner of Worthington Tax and Business service, and also serves on the Nobles County Corn and Soybean Growers Board and is a board director for a mutual insurance company.  Bill and Dawn are avid scuba divers and raise four children: Luke, Lance, Anna and Liam. 

“‘Unwinding’ for me is doing taxes and meeting with people and solving those problems,” he says. “I like to hang out with my family, too. What I like about all the activities I do is they’re all different.”

Family ties: Bill Gordon farms just down the road in Worthington from his mother, Colleen.

During his term, Gordon hopes to recruit a more diverse demographic to ASA; he’s aiming to help bring more women and African American farmers into the “soy family.”

“We have a really tight knit team from top to bottom at ASA,” he says, “and I think everyone appreciates that by having different voices, that’s good for the board as a whole.” 

Gordon will be advocating for a swift resolution to the trade war in China, along with the removal of tariffs, as a primary goal during his year-long term. Working out more trade deals with more international markets, ratifying USMCA, extending the Biodiesel Tax Credit, and pushing for infrastructure upgrades and more value-added soybeans are also high priorities for Gordon and ASA in 2020.

“We’ve got a lot of work to do and the (2020) election is going to influence the next four years, at least,” Gordon says. “Hopefully we can get some legislation passed. If I can at the end of my term, tell farmers, ‘We got these things done to improve your profitability,’ then I think I’ll be very happy.”

Gordon will be traveling domestically and internationally often in his capacity – up to six months out of the year, he estimates – and plans to find the next crop of soybean leaders along the way.

“I’m grateful for this opportunity to represent soybean farmers across the country,” he says. 

Gordon will be profiled in the cover story of the January-February 2020 issue of Soybean Business.

“Bill’s paid his dues as an advocate at the county, state and national levels,” says former MSGA CEO and current Minnesota Soybean Research & Promotion Council CEO Tom Slunecka. “Now, he’s reaping the fruits of his labor, and we couldn’t be prouder of the leaps he’s made as a leader and advocate.”

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