April Hemmes, a farmer near Hampton in Franklin County,

April Hemmes, a farmer near Hampton in Franklin County, United Soybean Board director and Iowa Soybean Association District 2 director shared how U.S. soybean farmers are committed to sustainability during a recent webinar discussing the sustainability of U.S. Soy from Farm to Fork. (Photo: Iowa Soybean Association)

From farm to fork

August 11, 2022 | Kriss Nelson

As food manufacturers and consumers are taking a closer look at sustainability efforts of everyone along the food chain, they can be assured that farmers are also focused on sustainability on their farm, too.

April Hemmes, a farmer near Hampton in Franklin County, shared her story during a recent Sustainability of U.S. Soy webinar sponsored by the United Soybean Board (USB).

“We have such a great story to tell,” says Hemmes, a USB director and Iowa Soybean Association District 2 director.  “We are truly part of the solution and grow a product that the consumer wants. We must remind the people who buy it from processors, food manufacturers, and consumers how and why we farm sustainably.”

High oleic soybeans

U.S.-grown soybean oil and protein help put consumers’ minds at ease. Hemmes cited a Food Industry Consumer Insights study which showed that 73% of consumers find it important to support domestic agriculture by purchasing food made with U.S.-grown ingredients.

“Your customers are asking for sustainability, and we know that,” says Hemmes. “That is why we want to do the most we can on our farms to give you a sustainable product.”

Soy’s dependable production, domestic supply chain, and superior performance meet the economic and functional needs of the food industry and consumer demand for local, sustainably-grown ingredients.

One of those ingredients is high oleic soybean oil.

“I like to showcase high oleic oil – especially in the fryer,” she says. “It performs so well. People like it because it has a neutral flavor and qualities similar to olive oil.”

Practicing what she preaches

U.S. soybean farmers are committed to taking care of the environment, being good citizens, and producing the most sustainably-grown soybeans in the world.

“We care for our land and want it to be as healthy as the people we feed,” says Hemmes. “In Iowa, we are fortunate to have some of the most productive soil in the world.”

Farming sustainably for Hemmes means utilizing cover crops and other conservation practices such as no-till, managing water and precision farming.

“I want to keep my asset the highest quality I can, and that asset is my soil,” she says. “Those things I do are better for my soil. I have more than doubled my yields in the years I have been farming because I have those precision and technical tools available.”

There are many other farmers who share the same values, Hemmes says. Making those known helps others understand how and why sustainable production occurs.

Hemmes encourages other producers to share "how and why you farm the land the way you do and what you do to care for the soil.”

 “Sustainability means so many different things, but if we tell the world our sustainability story and be transparent about our farming practices, it will help create a more open dialog and a better understanding of our soybean production.”