Iowa Soybean Association Launches Communications Squad

Farmer participants add their voice to timely issues impacting soybean production  

Ankeny, Iowa – Fourteen Iowa soybean farmers have volunteered to serve on the Iowa Soybean Association’s (ISA) Communications Squad.

Participants are empowered to share timely information about their industry and agriculture. Activities include visiting with reporters, speaking to civic and community groups, and offering their agricultural perspectives through a variety of communications channels including social media.

“The goal of the Communications Squad is to help participants take control of the narrative surrounding issues in the agriculture industry to ensure their voices are heard and their stories are told accurately,” says ISA Communications Director Aaron Putze.. 

ISA Communications Squad participants are:

  • Tom Adam, Harper
  • Tim Bardole, Rippey
  • Kellie Blair, Dayton
  • Steph Essick, Dickens
  • Jim Fitkin, Cedar Falls
  • Lindsay Greiner, Keota
  • April Hemmes, Hampton
  • Randy Miller, Lacona
  • Val Plagge, Latimer
  • Bill Shipley, Nodaway
  • Randy Souder, Rockwell City
  • Rob Stout, Washington
  • Dave Struthers, Collins
  • Dave Walton, Wilton

Farmers take part in four training sessions that provide tips for conducting successful interviews, writing impactful letters to the editor, speaking confidently in public, engaging in thoughtful conversations with consumers and being active on social media.

The group launchedin June with its first training session. It offered attendees insights on being interviewed from a former reporter and tips to improve active listening skills. It also included a tour of WHO-TV (Des Moines) where participants viewed a real-time newscast and interacted with reporters and station management.

Additional sessions this summer and fall  will offer communications squad participants tips for photography and engaging others on social media. They’ll  engage with fairgoers at the Iowa Food & Family Project exhibit in August and conclude training in September.

“We appreciate the time and effort these farmers are investing to improve their communication skills and apply those skills to be more vocal advocates for soybean farmers,” Putze says. “People respect the opinions of farmers and welcome their first-hand knowledge on issues that have an impact locally and globally.”

The Communications Squad is powered by Corteva, Hertz Farm Management, Inc., Iowa Select Farms and Landus Cooperative.

To learn more about ISA, go to

The Iowa Soybean Association ( develops policies and programs that help Iowa’s more than 40,000 soybean farmers expand profit opportunities while promoting environmentally sensitive production using the soybean checkoff and other resources. The association was founded in 1964 and is governed by an elected volunteer board of 22 farmers. It strives to be honest and transparent, fact-based and data driven and committed to environmental stewardship, collaborations and partnerships.