Former farmer is keen on beans
If you go
What: Dedication of a display case honoring retired soybean farmer Vince Drendel
When: 4:30 p.m. today
Where: Lower level of Eager building, East Main St., Evansville.
At the event: Bob Karls, executive director of the Wisconsin Soybean Association, will talk about Drendel's accomplishments. Refreshments will be served, including soybean cookies.
EVANSVILLE During their farming years, Vince Drendel and his wife, Esther, traveled the United States promoting the soybean industry.
They often were clad in a matching soybean-print sport coat and dress.
They've been honorary king and queen in a couple parades, including on a float named "Soy to the World" in Evansville in 1984.
Now, at age 91, Vince is being recognized for a lifetime of contributions to the soybean industry. The Evansville Soybean Committee is honoring Vince at a ceremony at 4:30 p.m. today in the lower level of the Eager building, where a display case recognizes his achievements.
The Drendels rent out their farm east of Evansville, but at one time they grew 250 to 300 acres of soybeans.
"He dedicated many, many years of laying the groundwork for a large industry in the state," said Bob Karls, executive director of the Wisconsin Soybean Association.
Vince was one of the driving forces behind creation of the Wisconsin Soybean Association in 1972, and he became the group's first president, Karls said.
"At that time, Rock County was pretty much the soybean producing county in the state—the most dense (county)," Karls said.
Since then, the industry has grown to cover about two-thirds of the counties in the state, he said.
Vince is credited with recruiting farmers, directors and members and conducting meetings and motivating people at events, he said. Vince recalls signing up more than 100 members—the most of anyone.
He also went on to serve as a national director with the American Soybean Association, and that's when he and Esther did much of their traveling.
"We went all over the United States and promoted," Vince said. "Today you can see the difference—soybeans are known all over the country, now. You can see how much stuff we eat contains soybeans."
The Drendels supported the effort in 1983 to have Evansville designated as the "Soybean Capital of Wisconsin," said Marsha Dobbs, who was president of the chamber at the time.
"We felt we wanted to do something to honor the farmers of the community for their contributions because it had always been a farming community," she said. "They were right in there pitching to help get this done."
Dobbs in 2007 resurrected the label and logo for the city, and the signs now welcome people to the "Soybean Capital of Wisconsin" at city entrances.
"He's been so great helping us out," she said. "Anything you wanted done, they were right there."