World Soy Foundation’s Farmer Leader Feature: Joel Thorsrud, N.D.

Farm Forum

We’re taking you to Hillsboro, North Dakota, where Joel Thorsrud, a staunch supporter of the World Soy Foundation (WSF), farms 1,200 acres of soybeans, wheat and corn.

Joel has been farming his land for 45 years, with help from his brother, during the busy harvest time. As a diabetic and a farmer, Joel has a very good understanding of how soy can be a healthy choice.

“My diabetes is under good control partly because I have found I can snack on soynuts and other soyfoods to maintain good blood sugar levels,” he said.

Joel has been a director on the United Soybean Board for seven years. Prior to that, he served on the North Dakota Soybean Council for six years, where he first heard about the World Soy Foundation’s work to reduce malnutrition through the power of soy. Joel recalled words from the Bible that encourages feeding the hungry and made the decision to become a first-time donor. Two years later, Joel had the opportunity to travel to Honduras and it was there he saw how children’s diets were being improved with soy protein.

“I visited with two brothers who were pharmacists and owned a pharmaceutical company with their father. They were educated in the U.S. and spoke English very well, and told us how they were buying soybeans from the U.S. to provide soy supplements,” Joel said. “ It seems Jesus’ words ‘feed the hungry’ is not only the right thing to do, but also a good business practice.”

Joel again saw the importance of feeding the hungry on a trip to Mozambique and South Africa with other soy family members

He continues to be a dedicated supporter of the World Soy Foundation, giving through his grain elevator each year. Joel chooses to donate through his grain elevator because it’s an easy process. Donating directly through the elevator means the income from donated grain never hits Joel’s books.

“I just tell the secretary at the elevator how much I want to send to the World Soy Foundation and she sends it,” he said.

The WSF is happy to recognize Joel as a leader in our industry and would like to thank him for his continued support. Without the generosity of farmers like Joel, we would be unable to continuing reducing malnutrition through the power of soy.

For farmers, giving through an elevator can be an easy way to donate to the World Soy Foundation. If you would like to learn more about this or have questions, please send your questions or comments to, and we would be happy to help. Or, simply visit our Donate page at to give the gift of protein today.