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What’s on your mind? Share it at ISA district meetings.

Article cover photo
District meetings provide an opportunity for farmers to learn more about the programs and services available to them as ISA members. (Photo: Bethany Baratta/Iowa Soybean Association)

By Bethany Baratta, ISA senior writer

As a grassroots organization, Iowa soybean farmers shape the direction of the Iowa Soybean Association (ISA). Members provide input to help the board of directors determine how checkoff funds are invested. One of the first steps in this process is participating in local district meetings.

“It’s an important opportunity for us to say thank you to our farmer-members for what they do on the farm and with ISA,” said Heather Lilienthal, director of producer services for ISA.

The district meetings connect farmers with their grassroots organization, ISA, and the services it provides.

For Advocate-level members, the district meetings provide more insight and discussion surrounding ISA policy programming. Advocate Hour is on the agenda again this year for each of the nine district meetings. Since soybean checkoff dollars can’t be used to influence policy, Advocate-level membership provides funding to empower local, state and federal policy changes and/or support.

“Policy advocacy is a core component of ISA’s benefit to our farmer members. In an effort to ramp up the conversation and engage our Advocate members, we’re hosting these hour-long surfacing discussions to help bring both state and federal policy issues into focus,” said Michael Dolch, director of public affairs for ISA.

Wayne Fredericks, an ISA member from Osage, serves on the ASA Board of Directors. He provided an update to ISA members at the district 2 meeting in Clarion earlier this week. (Photo: Bethany Baratta/Iowa Soybean Association)

Advocate membership and the hour-long sessions as part of the district meetings are stepping stones to ISA policy development, said Casey Schlichting, ISA district 2 director from Clear Lake.

“This is where the Iowa Soybean Association gets its grassroots ideas for our policy. It all starts there,” Schlichting said. “Those discussions provide direction in our policy programming.”

For Dean Coleman, an ISA Advocate member from Humboldt, the Advocate Hour’s smaller group setting allowed for a free-flow of questions and ideas surrounding ISA policy.

“The small group was a chance for members to voice their opinions and ask questions about current or future ISA policies,” Coleman said. He is currently an American Soybean Association (ASA) board member, representing Iowa.

Ultimately, the goal of the nine district meetings is to touch base with farmers closer to their fields and farms.

“Our farmers are in the soybean business and we’re in the people business,” Lilienthal said. “We really want to know what’s on their minds and how we can help them be successful.”

Visit ISA’s online calendar for details on upcoming district meetings.

Contact Bethany Baratta 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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