The Kentucky Soybean Association (KSA) is celebrating its 50-year anniversary in 2020, and during the preparations for such a milestone, one name kept popping up. George Martin of Nebo has been actively involved in leadership of the soybean association since 1975, a mere five years after the association was founded.
He was the first agent of the association’s first office, collecting membership dues and representing the organization. He and his wife, Linda, kept the books and sent out correspondence from Kentucky’s first soybean office, which happened to be their dining room table.
Martin has served in leadership roles in KSA including as secretary and treasurer from 1976 to 1983, vice president from 1984 to 1987, and president from 1988 to 1992. He served on the Ken-Ten Council, made up of Kentucky and Tennessee Soybean Farmers, and was Vice Chairman in 1991.
He has also served on the checkoff side, including as Chairman of the Kentucky Soybean Promotion Board (KSPB) in 2005. Martin, along with Jack Millikan, was one of Kentucky’s first representatives to the United Soybean Board (USB) when it was formed and is one of the few farmer directors to complete two nine-year terms on USB.
In February 2003, KSPB joined the Southern Soybean Research Program (SSRP) with Martin serving as Kentucky’s representative. He was elected chairman of that organization, a position he holds to this day.
Martin has served as Kentucky’s representative to the Soy Aquaculture Alliance (SAA) since 2012 and was elected chairman in December 2013.
Besides serving in elected and/or appointed official capacities, he and his wife Linda are selfless volunteers at numerous events throughout the year. They work multiple shifts at the Kentucky State Fair and the National Farm Machinery Show, in addition to setting up a soybean checkoff booth at various smaller events. Martin has always been a staunch advocate for soy biodiesel and worked for numerous years in the Kentucky Soybean Board booth, shared with the National Biodiesel Board, during the Mid America Truck Show.
This is the only Lifetime Achievement Award that KSA has given, and association leadership is convinced that George Martin has earned it for his 45 years of continuous service to his fellow farmers.