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American Soybean Association expanding staff in D.C., St. Louis
Washington, D.C. – The American Soybean Association (ASA) is expanding its staff in both the D.C. policy office and the St. Louis headquarters to meet the growing needs of the soybean industry. Joining the advocacy team for the national soy group is Carson Fort, who started Nov. 28 in the second of two newly created policy manager roles, the other filled by Joe Prosser in October. In St. Louis, the Industry Relations department added Maria Brockamp to its ranks.   
ASA is in the process of hiring a manager for its “SoyPAC” political action committee in D.C., and a state and industry relations manager in the St. Louis office. ASA’s World Initiative for Soy in Human Health (WISHH) program will soon add a new manager as well.
The policy managers will contribute to policy development and advocacy execution, collaborate across ASA functions to provide team support, and build relationships with ASA’s diverse stakeholders. Executive Director of Government Affairs Christy Seyfert and three policy directors remain on the team: Kyle Kunkler, Virginia Houston and Alexa Combelic.
Fort has worked as a legislative issue manager and a program manager, which he said has given him valued experience analyzing legislative and regulatory issues and being a part of a successful team.
Seyfert commented on Fort’s background, “Carson has conducted policy research, monitored legislation and had to understand a broad scope of topics and pick them up quickly. This experience will serve him well in the new role and we feel will make him an asset as he dives into soy and agriculture policy.”
Fort is no stranger to the importance of agriculture, having grown up in rural Ohio. He earned a Bachelor of Arts in political science from Manchester University, North Manchester, Ind., and a Master of public administration from The Ohio State University. Before joining ASA, he was a program manager for OSU and served as a legislative issue manager at Stateside Associates. Fort interned in federal advocacy for LNE Group, based in Cleveland, Ohio, and was a program adviser focused on business and government relations for The Fund for American Studies in Washington, D.C.
Brockamp started as industry relations coordinator on Nov. 27. Before joining ASA, Maria was a sustainability technician trainee with Bartlett in Kansas City, Mo. There, she managed sustainability projects within a three-elevator territory in Nebraska, Kansas and Missouri, advised producers on applicable conservation practices that maximize soil carbon sequestration and soil health benefits with consideration of local resource concerns, and helped assure industry standards and international sustainability guidelines were met.
Brockamp interned in communications at the University of Illinois Office of Corporate Relations, in regulatory affairs and trade policy with the National Milk Producers Federation, and in compliance with Dairy Farmers of America, Inc. She is also an alumna of the ASA and Valent Ag Voices of the Future program and a recent graduate of the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. Brockamp holds a Bachelor of Science in agricultural and consumer economics with a minor in crop and soil management.
ASA advocates on policy issues ranging from farm policy and biofuels to trade, conservation, biotechnology, animal ag, tax law, regulatory decisions affecting crop protection and more – issues that impact the livelihoods of U.S. soybean farmers across some 30 major soy states.