The Ohio Soybean Association (OSA) has named Kirk Merritt Executive Director of the grassroots policy and member-driven organization to begin March 6. Merritt currently serves as the Executive Director of the Ohio Soybean Council (OSC), which manages soybean checkoff dollars, and will continue in that role.
The announcement follows the departure of Adam Ward, who had served as OSA executive director and OSC director of marketing and outreach since 2010. Ward left the organizations to pursue an opportunity at The Ohio State University (OSU) as the Government Affairs Director for the College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences.
“We want to thank Adam for his dedication to our organization and his help in raising our level of recognition at the Statehouse and Washington, D.C. We look forward to working with him in his new role,” said Todd Hesterman, OSA president and Henry County soybean farmer. “To build on the progress made, we believe there is no better candidate than Kirk who has already been working with OSA and has done great work for OSC.”
Merritt joined OSC in June 2007 as International Marketing Director and Director of Outreach and Programs for the Ohio Soybean Council Foundation (OSCF). In 2009 he was promoted to Executive Director of both organizations. He has worked closely with the OSC Board of Trustees to advance OSC’s mission of enhancing profit opportunities for Ohio soybean farmers. Prior to the Ohio soybean organizations, Merritt was the Director of the International Trade Division in the Ohio Department of Development leading a team with offices in Ohio and eleven international markets. Kirk holds a B.A. from Manchester University and a M.A. from OSU.
Merritt looks forward to tackling his new role and keeping the missions of all three organizations, OSA, OSC and OSCF, in sync with the growing and changing agricultural industry.
“Agriculture is an extremely exciting industry to be in right now,” Merritt said. “Technology is advancing and being adopted at a rapid rate. U.S. and international consumer demographics are changing. Legislative priorities and policies are in flux. I am looking forward to the challenge and can’t wait to get started. My first goal for OSA is to continue the good work that was done over the past several years and build on that for the future.”
In addition to the change at the executive level, OSA and OSC are expected to announce and begin accepting applications for an additional staff position soon.