Members of ISA's Experience Class

Eight members of ISA's Experience Class and one District Advisory Committee member participate in a two-day tour involving Fair Oaks Farms dairy and crop production experience and Beck's Hybrids Becknology Days. (Photo: Kriss Nelson/Iowa Soybean Association).

Farmer-members attend Becknology Days for Experience Class finale

August 30, 2022 | Kriss Nelson

It was a chance to network and learn, all while engaging in fun and fellowship. Nine Iowa Soybean Association (ISA) farmer-members traveled to Indiana recently where they took part in a farm tour at Fair Oaks Farms and Becknology Days at Beck’s Hybrids.

The two-day trip concluded ISA’s 2022 ISA Experience Class which is one of the several program areas available to ISA farmer-members.

The ISA Experience Class takes a deep dive into ISA’s different program areas, provides a better understanding of how the soy checkoff works and makes connections with state and national soy partners, including the American Soybean Association, United Soybean Board, U.S. Soybean Export Council, Soy Transportation Coalition and more.

The ISA Experience Class has visited REG, Latham Seeds and the Iowa State Capitol this past year.

Kennady Moffitt, ISA producer services program coordinator, says applications will open soon for the 2023 ISA Experience Class.

“This is a first touch point for our members to become more involved with the Iowa Soybean Association,” she says. “We work to get them familiar with our association; hopefully, they will want to become more involved in more advanced program areas.”

‘Spreading the word’

Beck’s Hybrid’s Becknology Days proved both interesting and educational for Marilee Jones, ISA farmer member from Sheffield and 2022 ISA Experience class member.

“It was a field day I have not experienced before,” she says. “To me it was great to see what other companies are seeing as their standard as a level of acceptance and how it might fit into our program. Is there something they have in their lineup that may be able to help me reach my goal more economically?”

Jones, who is also involved with Women in Ag, has made the decision to continue with her involvement with ISA by joining the Iowa-Missouri Policy Leaders Fellowship program (PLF).

PLF gives participants an understanding of policies, laws and regulations affecting agriculture, the soybean industry and rural America.

“The farmer is becoming more of a minority in the industry, and we need more of us to have a voice out there,” Jones says. “I wanted to know more about what the Iowa Soybean Association does, how they are getting the word out there on behalf of farmers and what we can do as producers to assist the Iowa Soybean Association to do our part in spreading that word.”

Roger Van Ersvelde, ISA farmer member from Brooklyn and ISA’s District Advisory Council, had heard about Becknology Days, so he jumped at the opportunity to attend.

Rover Van Ersvelde, ISA farmer member from Brooklyn visits with Scott Beck, president of Beck's Hybrids during Becknology Days held at the company's headquarters in Atlanta, Indiana. (Photo: Kriss Nelson/Iowa Soybean Association).

“It was an awesome show,” he says. “There was a lot of knowledge shared from their experts, and the Practical Farm Research is awesome.”

Van Ersvelde says he appreciates ISA for the chance to attend and encourages others to become more involved within the association.

“Thank you to the Iowa Soybean Association for doing this. Otherwise, I would not have had this opportunity,” he says. “For anybody considering being involved in ISA, do it. There are many good people to connect with, and the staff is great.”

Pre-harvest thoughts

Jones is ready for the 2022 fall harvest following her time with the ISA Experience class.

“We are excited. We have had some key rains in our area that came very timely,” she says.

But with that anticipation, the rising input costs is weighing heavy on Jones’ mind.

“Looking to fall and next year, we are concerned for the rising input prices affecting our fall applied and spring applied fertilizer,” she says.

Van Ersvelde is curious and excited about the upcoming harvest.

“With the drought in central Iowa, we have been wondering how much of a hit we will take on our corn yields,” Van Ersvelde says. “The soybeans look pretty good right now; rain received in August could help save them.”

Despite those concerns, Van Ersvelde is looking forward to harvest to see the result of the new technology he used this spring.

“We used variable rate on anhydrous, grid sampling and prescription planting this year,” he says. “We are looking forward to seeing those results.”