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ISA ready for 2020 opportunities

Article cover photo
Iowa soybean farmers and Iowa Soybean Association staff outline priorities for 2020. (Photo: Joseph L. Murphy/Iowa Soybean Association)

By Bethany Baratta, ISA senior writer

As we close the door on 2019 and welcome 2020, Iowa Soybean Association members and staff outline their top priorities for the year. Here’s what they’re saying:

“Continue supporting ISA programs and leadership efforts in several areas, from policy priorities to environmental services and from production to demand. On the farm, my top priority is to do a better job marketing my grain. I’m hoping trade deals move forward so we have opportunities to sell our crops at a profit.” — Tim Bardole, ISA president from Rippey

“We will continue to work to resume normal trade with China, capture additional market share in other export markets and increase production of biodiesel.” — Grant Kimberley, ISA senior director of market development and executive director of the Iowa Biodiesel Board

“Continue to grow our diversity of soy customers outside of China by developing new markets and cultivating current ones, demonstrating to customers that we are a reliable supplier, educating of the advantages of better amino acid profile, demonstrating and educating of our sustainability advantage and educating that GMOs are the sustainable option. We also need to continue to advocate for free trade agreements in Europe and around the globe.” – Tom Adam, ISA District 9 director from Harper

“Grow a community of food and health-minded consumers who are trusting and confident in modern agriculture. — Kelly Visser, ISA ag awareness manager leading the Iowa Food & Family Project

“Now that some of the trade uncertainty has been reduced, we have to reassure customers around the world that the United States remains a reliable supplier of high-quality soybeans and soy products. Continue to invest in market development activities in emerging markets to reduce dependence on China as we have lost a share of that market due to trade dispute. Fight for federal and state policies and legislation that support the continued growth in biodiesel demand. Seek passage of 3/8 cent sales tax increase in Iowa to provide a significant and long-term funding stream for conservation and water quality efforts. Work to increase the number of ISA members who support and advocate for policy initiatives that improve soybean farmer profitability.” — Kirk Leeds, ISA CEO

“To continue to advocate for Iowa’s farmers to insure our profitability and the sustainability of our way of life and our resources.” — Pat Swanson, ISA District 9 director from Ottumwa

“Develop new and improve the existing dynamic/interactive decision management aid tools for farmers and agronomists like Interactive Summaries of Replicated Strip Trials (ISOFAST), Vegetation Imagery Time Series Interactive Tool (VITSIT), and Variable Rate Soybean Seeding Simulator.  Quantify the long-term impact of farmers’ agronomic and conservation practices on productivity, profitability and water quality.” — Peter Kyveryga, ISA director of analytics

“To connect Iowa soybean farmers to ISA. Farmers need to opt-in to allow us to activate their farmer membership. It's as easy as going online to, signing up with any ISA staff person or calling the Producer Services team. Soybean farmers pay into the checkoff and we want to make sure they connect with ISA for information, opportunity and more. We are focused on driving innovation and delivering resources to help farmers remain profitable and productive. We also seek farmers from each district to be involved with the ISA Experience which offers a soy-centric deep dive into ISA. The program, in its sixth year, kicks off this spring. ISA is led by a 22-member board of directors. These directors are farmers and they determine the association's direction, checkoff investments and goals to best serve Iowa's farmers. Each year, we seek farmers to run for district director positions. Two farmers must run for each seat up for election and we are always available to explain this leadership opportunity to Iowa soybean farmers. — Heather Lilienthal, ISA director of producer services

“To continue to analyze the cost/benefit decisions for our operation and transition planning for the next generations.” — Don Swanson, ISA member from Ottumwa

“This year’s top priority is to know my cost of production, make a marketing plan and stick to it! This year I know how important that is and that the plan can be tweaked as the year and events happen.   I also want to stick with my no-till corn plan on one of my farms. I have participated in the CSP (Conservation Security Program) for the last few years on this farm, strictly no-tilling and using cover crops. It is a bit more management, but I feel has really paid off in its productivity.  This year the no-till corn on the 200-acre farm averaged almost 230 bushels per acre.” — April Hemmes, ISA District 2 director from Hampton

Contact Bethany Baratta at

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