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Soy Briefs

Article cover photo
ISA member Jeff Jorgenson discusses progress one year after major flooding inundated southwest Iowa in the Spring Issue of the Iowa Soybean Review. (Photo: Joseph L. Murphy/Iowa Soybean Association)


In this issue of the Iowa Soybean Review, farmers along the Missouri River are confident in levee repairs, the ISA water lab is a trusted source of data, U.S. soy’s approach lifts all protein sectors, soy-based asphalt shows promise at a test track and more.

Quick Links:

Built Strong: Farmers along Missouri River confident in levee repairs.

Science of Water Monitoring: Iowa Soybean Association lab trusted source of data.

Choose U.S. Protein First: U.S. soy’s approach lifts all protein sectors.

Road Ready: Soy-based asphalt shows promise at test track.

The American Soybean Association (ASA) is launching a campaign to help farmers stay mentally healthy while dealing with COVID-19 and other farm hardships. Farmers are frequently segregated naturally but are currently not able to attend events where they’d be close to others, said Kevin Scott, vice president of the ASA.

“Along with the planting stress, we also have the social stress of not being able to physically visit with people,” Scott told Brownfield Ag News Thursday.

The ASA’s COVID-19 Task Force conducted a survey indicating stress among farmers is high. Scott, who farms in southeastern South Dakota, felt it personally when his grandchild was born six weeks prematurely and he could only wait in the hospital parking lot for word that the child was doing ok.

“I still haven’t seen that grandchild and it’s been four weeks,” said an emotional Scott, “so yeah, COVID kind of affects you.”

The #SoyHelp campaign will include social media posts throughout May Mental Health Month as well as expert advice on farm stress and seeking emotional support.

“Emotional struggles are not one-size-fits-all,” said Wendy Brannen, ASA Sr. Director of Marketing & Communications. “Our team has researched resources to accommodate an array of individuals and their needs, and how they or their families can seek qualified help – and we are hopeful this campaign can melt away a bit of the stigma that sometimes still exists in talking openly about the tolls of stress and seeking help.”

Amid the COVID-19 outbreak, we all need to do our parts and practice social distancing. At the same time farming doesn’t stop, so here are five steps you should take to prepare for the spring while protecting your and your communities’ health.

  1. Prepare for herbicide application.Instead of arranging plans for herbicide application with your local retailer in their office, this spring you may not have the opportunity to meet in person for 2020 plans. Below are some tips to help your operation be proactive during social distancing so that your needs are properly and timely met.
  • Pre-print field maps and give them to your retailer or save them as PDFs that can be texted or emailed to a third party. One idea is to share a portfolio of your information with the retail office in case you are in need of service and your salesman is unavailable when you call.
  • Highlight all areas of each given field and label corn and soybean acres to eliminate confusion.
  • Label the herbicide trait type used in each field. Make sure your retailer can clearly identify any changes in traits planted across your acres. The more information you provide, the better. 
  • Speak with your retailer and other suppliers about how you would like to exchange information during this time. Be proactive and let your suppliers know your preferred communication channel and whether you are comfortable with responding to information via text message, email, video chat or another format.

 See more tips at the link above.


U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue released the following statement after President Donald J. Trump signed an Executive Order to keep meat and poultry processing facilities open during the COVID-19 national emergency.

“I thank President Trump for signing this executive order and recognizing the importance of keeping our food supply chain safe, secure, and plentiful. Our nation’s meat and poultry processing facilities play an integral role in the continuity of our food supply chain,” said Secretary Perdue. “Maintaining the health and safety of these heroic employees in order to ensure that these critical facilities can continue operating is paramount. I also want to thank the companies who are doing their best to keep their workforce safe as well as keeping our food supply sustained. USDA will continue to work with its partners across the federal government to ensure employee safety to maintain this essential industry.”

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) of the Department of Health and Human Services and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) of the Department of Labor have put out guidance for plants to implement to help ensure employee safety to reopen plants or to continue to operate those still open. Under the Executive Order and the authority of the Defense Production Act, USDA will work with meat processing to affirm they will operate in accordance with the CDC and OSHA guidance, and then work with state and local officials to ensure that these plants are allowed to operate to produce the meat protein that Americans need. USDA will continue to work with the CDC, OSHA, FDA, and state and local officials to ensure that facilities implementing this guidance to keep employees safe can continue operating.

Additional information and details will be released soon. The Pork Checkoff has put together a map of U.S. pork packing plants and their latest operating status. Access this resource here:

Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Mike Naig announced today that the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship has formed a Resource Coordination Center (RCC) to support Iowa livestock producers affected by the COVID-19 supply chain disruptions. COVID-19 outbreaks in the workforce are causing many meat processing facilities to run below normal operating capacity. That’s creating challenges for producers who are trying to convert livestock to food products.

“COVID-19 has disrupted every aspect of our lives, including our food supply chain,” said Secretary Naig. “This is creating numerous challenges for producers and forcing them to make unimaginable decisions. We want producers to know they’re not alone. We have assembled a team of people who are here to connect producers with information and resources as they work through this difficult time.”

The Department is collaborating with public and private partners to operate the RCC, including the Iowa Pork Producers Association (IPPA), the Iowa Pork Industry Center and Iowa State University Extension and Outreach.

The Iowa Farm Environmental Leader Award is a joint effort of the Governor, Lt. Governor, Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship, and Iowa Department of Natural Resources to recognize the exemplary voluntary efforts of Iowa’s farmers as environmental leaders committed to healthy soils and improved water quality.

It recognizes those that have taken steps in their farming operations that improve or protect the environment and natural resources of our state while also serving as local leaders to encourage other farmers to follow in their footsteps by building success upon success.

As environmental leaders, these farmers have adopted best management practices and incorporated environmental stewardship throughout their farming operations. True stewards of the land, they recognize that improved water quality and soil sustainability reaps benefits that extend beyond their fields to reach the citizens of Iowa and beyond, and have made environmental stewardship a priority on their farms.

Nomination forms for Award Year 2020 are due Monday, May 4th 2020; nominations received after that date will be considered for Award Year 2021. The selection process will begin in May with final decisions made in June/July. The awards ceremony will be Wednesday, August 19, 2020. If you have any questions, or need an alternate format of the nomination form, contact Casey Judge at

The Way We Live Award, sponsored by Pioneer, Iowa Farmer Today and the WHO BIG show, recognizes Iowa farm families who have demonstrated their dedication to agriculture and strong Iowa farm values. Six families were chosen in 2019.  The award, started in 2009, has recognized 69 outstanding Iowa farm families so far.  Each award-winning family receives a prize package of $250, Fair admission, a parking pass, food vouchers, lodging provided by Holiday Inn Downtown Mercy Campus and recognition in the Paul R. Knapp Animal Learning Center during the Iowa State Fair, August 13-23, 2020. See if you know the previous winners and be sure to thank them for their service and dedication to the agriculture industry.

Applications must be submitted online, using the form, or postmarked by June 1, 2020, and sent to: Iowa State Fair, c/o Emily Wynn, PO Box 57130, Des Moines, Iowa 50317-0003 or to

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.