“It is an honor to serve U.S. soybean farmers to fulfill ASA’s mission to improve soybean farmer profitability by working with U.S. policymakers and the soybean industry,” says Heck.

Since 1997, Heck has been a member of the ASA board, serving on these committees: public affairs; strategic planning; finance and administrative services; finance; and audit committees. Heck chairs the public affairs committee, and in 1999-2001 chaired the finance and administrative services committee as ASA vice president/treasurer.

"U.S. soybean producers must be competitive in the global marketplace," says Heck. "It is in our country's best interest that we negotiate trade agreements favorable to U.S. agriculture, guard against unfair and illegal trade practices that disadvantage U.S producers, and appropriate funding for lock and dam improvements along the Mississippi and Illinois Rivers to modernize our transportation infrastructure."

At the state level, Heck has been active on the Iowa Soybean Association (ISA) board of directors. In 1993, he served as president and was chairman of its member services and public affairs committees.

Heck has served on the Chicago Reserve Board Advisory Committee for Agriculture, Labor and Small Business and the U.S. Department of Agriculture and Department of Energy's Biomass Research and Development Technical Advisory Committee.

A member of the National Biodiesel Board since 1999, Heck plays an integral role with this national trade association representing the biodiesel industry as the coordinating body for research and development in the U.S.

“Representation from full time farmers assures policy decisions will reflect farmer interests,” says Heck.

As expected from a leader, Heck has educated numerous gatherings with agricultural information. Ranging from global positioning systems to South American competition, most recently at the Midwest Soybean Conference, Heck finds taking action for positive change as the key to growing and leading the industry.

“Increasingly rapid change is a certainty,” says Heck. “Recent successful changes include greatly expanding the biodiesel market, including soybeans as a program crop in the 2002 farm bill, and increasing trade negotiation activities to expand trade and production opportunities.”