ST. LOUIS, MISSOURI, U.S. — The American Soybean Association (ASA) presented two special wards during its annual banquet at the 2015 Commodity Classic in Phoenix, Arizona, U.S., Feb. 26-28.

Jim Sprecht, emeritus professor of agronomy and horticulture at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, received the Special Meritorious Service Award and Harvey Morken, of Casselton, North Dakota, U.S., received the Lifetime Achievement Award – Membership Focus.

The Special Meritorious Service Award honors individuals who served the soybean industry above and beyond the ordinary and devoted a major portion of their career to the soybean industry in any field.

Specht’s work led to major advancements in the soybean industry, including findings that an earlier planting date was crucial to achieving higher soybean yields. He was instrumental in DNA sequencing for generating higher seed yields and a leader in water management research and soybean yield response.

Specht’s outstanding support for the soybean industry has been a great asset to soybean farmers everywhere, ASA said.

The Lifetime Achievement Award – Membership Focus honors individuals who have provided outstanding leadership and dedication to ASA and helped further the interests of soybean farmers.

Morken’s hard work helped the North Dakota Soybean Growers Association increase membership enough to receive a second national director on the ASA board for 2015. He is a dedicated membership recruiter who strives to learn more about the important issues and engages farmers in conversation, underscoring the importance of having a state and national soybean association working on policy issues on their behalf.