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Iowa soybean farmers have a friend in NW Iowa agronomist

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Joel DeJong has been awarded the 2019 ISA Friend of the Iowa Soybean Farmer Award for his outstanding actions and efforts to support Iowa soybean farmers and the Iowa Soybean Association. (Photo: Joseph L. Murphy/Iowa Soybean Association)

By Lauren Houska, ISA communications specialist


Joel DeJong, Iowa State University (ISU) Extension and Outreach field agronomist, accepted the Friend of the Iowa Soybean Farmer Award, sponsored by Cargill, at the Iowa Soybean Association (ISA) annual awards banquet Dec. 13 in Ankeny.

As the ISU field agronomist in northwest Iowa, Joel DeJong has over 35 years of experience working closely with farmers on integrated management of pest populations, crop management issues, and nutrient and manure management planning.

DeJong currently educates producers on proper nutrient and pest management practices and oversees annual pesticide applicator continuing education sessions. He also authors a monthly newsletter on timely topics for farmers in northwest Iowa.

As a professional who routinely works with farmers, DeJong believes in the power of working together.

“It makes perfect sense to work in coordination with the organizations that represent Iowa farmers in order to serve them most effectively,” said DeJong.

He routinely invites the Iowa Soybean Association (ISA) to have a presence at meetings and events and helps ISA identify key contacts in northwest Iowa.

DeJong served on the ISA Research Advisory Council for several years, and now serves on the ISU Northwest Iowa Experimental Association. 

“I am able to provide input from farmers to help identify and execute projects on issues impacting farmers’ sustainability and profitability.”

Partnering with Siouxland Agriculture in the Classroom, DeJong helps organize a consumer-engagement event in Plymouth and Woodbury counties.

“The Dine at the County Line event invites consumers to sit down with farmers for a meal and have conversation about agriculture. Our goal is to bring food and agriculture science to teachers, health professionals and others.”

He included ISA as a participant at one of the “conversation stations” at the event.

Raised on a farm in Sioux County, DeJong received his Bachelor of Science in ag business from ISU in 1980 and his Master of Agriculture Degree in professional agriculture from ISU in 1988.

“I’m honored and humbled by this award. I’ve had a number of opportunities to work with northwest Iowa farmers for many years, developing great relationships with agricultural producers and leaders. Having these relationships has allowed me to accomplish the work I set out to do. This award is not a reflection of my work alone, it is the result of everyone working together.”

Katie Johnson, ISA public relations manager, contributed to this report. 

Contact Lauren at lhouska@iasoybeans.comContact Katie at

For media inquiries, permission to republish articles or to request high-res photos, please contact Katie James, ISA Public Relations Manager at © 2020 Iowa Soybean Association. All rights reserved.

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