ISA Leadership Awards

ISA Leadership Awards are presented annually to individuals and organizations in recognition of outstanding work on behalf of Iowa soybean farmers and the farming profession.

“Improving the competitiveness of Iowa’s soybeans would not be possible without the outstanding commitment of farmers and industry professionals. Nobody does what they do for recognition," says Lindsay Greiner, past ISA President and 2012 New Leader Award recipient. "That’s why it’s up to us to find those who go above and beyond and make sure they know they are appreciated." 

Help us celebrate the 2021 recipients virtually!

Recipients are recognized each year during ISA’s Annual Awards Banquet in Des Moines, but due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the 2021 ISA Leadership Awards will be announced virtually on our Facebook page on January 25 at 12:30 PM. Each recipient will be highlighted through a short video detailing their contributions to the industry.

Join ISA's Board of Directors, our staff and agriculture industry professionals as we recognize the eight 2021 ISA Leadership Award recipients! Help us celebrate the recipients and thank them for the work they do on behalf of agriculture in 3 easy steps!

  1. Go to our Facebook page:
  2. Watch the videos and comment with your congratulations.
  3. Like and share our videos to help spread the word!



Recognizing leaders since 2012: Meet our past recipients

Legacy of Leadership

nullDean Coleman, Humboldt

This award is presented to an ISA member who has established a history of leadership and has taken an active role in advancing the goals of ISA. 

Past Recipients

2012: Family of the late Curt Raasch, Odeboldt
2013: William Merschman, Merschman Seeds, West Point
2014: Family of Raymond Heck, Perry
2015: Curt Sindergard, Rolfe
2016: Roy Bardole, Rippey
2017: Rick and Martha Kimberley, Bondurant
2018: Mark Jackson, Rose Hill
2019: Ed Ulch, Solon
2020: Dean Coleman, Humboldt

Rising Star

nullSamuel Lane, Mediapolis

This award and $1,000 education stipend is presented to a high school senior or college student who takes an active role in promoting Iowa agriculture and has plans to remain involved in agriculture through future personal or professional activities.

Past Recipients

2012: Kendra Wuthrich, Bloomfield 2013: Lexi Marek, Washington
2014: Kolton Greiner, Keota
2015: Macy Marek, Washington
2016: Vance Ohnemus, Milo
2017: Kaleb Miller, Lacona
2018: Andrey Shirbroun, Farmersburg
2019: Erin Chalupa, Keota
2020: Samuel Lane, Mediapolis

Submit Your Application


New Leader

nullReed Burres, Humboldt

This award is presented to an ISA member who has recently grown their involvement in ISA programming and shown outstanding leadership skills in their community and/or state.

Past Recipients

2012: Lindsay Greiner, Keota
2013: Tom Wall, Iowa City
2014: Kellie Blair, Dayton
2015: Julie Kenney, Nevada
2016: Brent Renner, Klemme
2017: Andrew Lauver, Lake City
2018: Sam Showalter, Hampton
2019: Klint and Aimee Bissell, Bedford
2020: Reed Burres, Humboldt

Innovator in Production Research

nullDan De Vries, Prairie City

This award recognizes an individual or organization leading the way in the use of precision agriculture technology and worked to discover, validate and manage practices to improve soybean profitability.

Past Recipients

2017: Steve Killpack, Beebeetown
2018: Lindsay Inc. (Dennis, Barb, Brian, and Jeff Lindsay) 2019: Denny Friest, Radcliffe
2020: Dan De Vries, Prairie City


Environmental Leader

nullDean Sponheim, Nora Springs

This award recognizes an ISA member who is committed to practices that improve environmental performance through work with the ISA Research Center for Farming Innovation. 

Past Recipients

2012: Robert Ballou, Monticello
2013: David Ausberger, Jefferson
2014: Steve Berger, Wellman
2015: Tim Smith, Eagle Grove
2016: Mike Bravard, Jefferson
2017: Rob Stout, Washington
2018: Nick Meier, LaPorte City
2019: Brent Larson, Fort Dodge
2020: Dean Sponheim, Nora Springs

Friend of the Iowa Soybean Farmer Award

nullSteve Hershner, The City of Cedar Rapids

This award recognizes an elected leader, reporter or other ISA partner who has shown a deep understanding of the agricultural issues and supported Iowa soybean farmers through their actions.


Past Recipients

2012: Iowa Lieutenant Governor Kim Reynolds
2013: Ken Anderson, Brownfield Radio Network
2014: Dr. John Pesek, Iowa State University
2015: Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey, Spirit Lake
2016: Darcy Maulsby, Yetter
2017: Iowa Governor Terry Branstad
2018: Iowa Rep. Helen Miller
2019: Joel DeJong, Iowa State University Extension & Outreach
2020: Steve Hershner, The City of Cedar Rapids


Advocate for Iowa Agriculture

nullRobb & Jennifer Ewoldt, Davenport

This award recognizes an individual, organization or company who effectively and accurately tells the story of modern agriculture and actively builds bridges between Iowa farmers and consumers. 

Past Recipients

2019: Kevin and Julie Van Manen, Kellogg
2020: Robb and Jennifer Ewoldt, Davenport


Policy Champion

nullNew in 2021
This award recognizes an ISA Advocate Member who actively participated in advocating for policy and regulatory issues benefiting farmers and the soybean industry and has a proven track record of personally engaging elected leaders on these issues.



Submit your nominations

The nominations window closed November 3, 2020 for the 2021 ISA Leadership Awards, but you can always submit names through the form below or view the Rising Star ApplicationTo upload your nominations in a PDF or Word document instead, just type UPLOADED in the nominee information fields.


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Nominee Information