Chief Executive Officer of ISA in a truck

(Photo: Joclyn Bushman/Iowa Soybean Association)

Executive Insights: Celebrating the soybean family

August 19, 2022 | Kirk Leeds

Welcome to Soybean Month in Iowa! It’s August, and this edition of the Iowa Soybean Review celebrates the industry’s importance and ways the Iowa Soybean Association (ISA) is driven to deliver opportunities and results for the farmers we serve.

One example is increased production and demand for biodiesel. Recently, Gov. Kim Reynolds signed the ISA-backed Biofuels Access Bill. The governor has been a strong advocate of agriculture and the soybean industry, and I am grateful for her leadership and again proclaiming August as Soybean Month in Iowa.

The designation brings awareness and credibility to the industry. It reinforces the many ways soybean production benefits Iowans – from protein for humans and feed for livestock, poultry and fish to renewable energy and a multitude of new uses, including soy-based asphalt.

The proclamation signing is also a salute to the team of dedicated professionals who grow, transport, store, process and make soy-based oil and protein available to feed and fuel people here at home and abroad.

Soy and its local and global relevance result from the visionary farmer leaders who’ve guided ISA. Decades of investments in research, new uses and infrastructure development (including the Port of Grays Harbor in the Pacific Northwest and improvements to our nation’s locks and dams) have stimulated production and demand. The combination boosts soybean prices, income potential for soybean farmers and quality of life for our customers.

Tom Oswald was one of those dedicated champions who played a leading role in advancing the soybean industry’s influence and success. Earlier this summer, the long-time Iowa and national soybean leader passed away unexpectedly while doing what he loved most – farming. Tom’s death jolted our soybean family, much like the recent loss of two other prominent soy leaders and past ISA presidents: Dean Coleman and Bill Shipley.

Our industry flourishes because of the products derived from soybeans. But foundational to our success are the thoughtful, dedicated and forever curious volunteer farmer leaders who invest untold hours to be stewards of the soybean checkoff and ambassadors for their fellow producers.

We mourn Tom’s passing and offer our deepest condolences to his wife Susanne and the entire Oswald family. We honor his memory and all who have served ISA by never taking a moment, day or the soybean industry’s future success for granted.

Celebrating Soybean Month in Iowa is a timely opportunity to reflect on the success of ISA programs and activities and the results we’ve accomplished. But most importantly, it’s a reminder to appreciate the many friends and colleagues we meet along the way and who make the soybean family just that … a family.