ISA Team Members Speaking at Meeting

ISA officials and directors detail the ISA difference in their own words

August 19, 2022 | Jeff Hutton

We asked ISA senior team leaders and two board directors this question: How does the Iowa Soybean Association assist and maintain Iowa’s status as one of the premier soybean leaders in the nation and around the world?

"ISA embraces innovation and constantly scans the horizon for new and emerging challenges and opportunities. To maintain its relevance for Iowa’s farmers, ISA needs to make sure that we are constantly evolving to ensure that we are in the best possible position to help our farmers remain best in class. Fortunately, our farmer directors accept this challenge and responsibility.” - Kirk Leeds, CEO

"I became involved with the ISA through the Iowa Food & Family Project. I really enjoyed the opportunity to visit with consumers about what we are doing on our farm to keep their food safe and affordable. My interest grew as I participated in the ISA Experience Class. I was amazed to find out all ISA was doing on farms with research and that we had a water lab in the basement. It shows me how much ISA cares about farmers and the environment. It is obvious that ISA is driven to deliver profitability to farmers by helping increase yields and finding new uses and markets for soybeans.” - Pat Swanson, Ottumwa, District 9 director

"The visionary pedigree of ISA is fostered by a thoughtful and passionate CEO and mutual trust between the association’s dedicated 22-farmer board of directors and staff. ISA relishes partnerships and doing what needs to be done regardless of who gets the credit. We’re also not hesitant to forge innovative partnerships and business models while leading disruption from within. Significant resources derived by soybean checkoff and non-checkoff sources combined with collaborations with multiple state and national soybean organizations allow for creating and implementing innovative programs and projects, generating opportunities and delivering results for soybean farmers in Iowa and throughout the country.” - Aaron Putze, APR, senior director of Information & Education

"ISA has long been a leader in the soybean industry. The vision of past and present leaders, both from the board and staff, have led to new research, new relationships, new uses and more demand for soybeans. ISA continues to lead in an evolving marketplace with surging soybean oil demand with renewable fuels and a growing carbon market with the Soil and Water Outcomes Fund. As we work with policymakers and commodity leaders from around the country and globally, ISA is highly regarded as a trailblazer for new ideas, innovative projects and strategic partnerships.” - Brent Swart, Spencer, District 1 director

"ISA is recognized as a leader among agriculture organizations in wisely applying farmer checkoff dollars for the greatest return on investment in research, promotion, education and market development. Iowa soybean farmers can be sure their checkoff dollars are being leveraged with matching non-checkoff support to innovate production that is increasingly abundant, of the highest quality and done under ever-improving conservation practices for sustaining farmer and industry economics, soil and environmental health, and water quality. Iowa’s economy flourishes and all Iowans benefit as farmers continue to engage with ISA, adopt continuously improving cropping systems products, practices and infrastructure, and as existing and new market demands are met." - Ed Anderson, Ph.D., senior director of research

"While the food and agriculture systems are increasingly complex, ISA keeps it simple. There’s widespread recognition throughout the organization that we’re only as good and relevant as the sum of our parts and those we serve –Iowa’s soybean farmers. ISA is known for maintaining a farmer-focused approach, embracing inevitable change, and collaborating on innovative and sometimes uncomfortable solutions, which address the challenges facing American agriculture. To remain relevant in the quest for long-term farmer competitiveness and profitability, ISA must continue to steward farmer investment wisely, take prudent risks, remain agile and responsive, and most importantly, stay true to who we represent.” - Michael Dolch, director of public affairs

"The function of ISA is to provide research, market development, communication and policy work. All these touch farmers’ lives, directly and indirectly. We’re helping farmers when it comes to growing soybeans efficiently, affordably and sustainably. We help increase production by providing research and the marketing that goes with it. We work to grow new markets, both international and domestic. We advocate on behalf of farmers at the policy level, both in Des Moines and Washington, D.C. We are active in developing partnerships up and down the value chain, including our sister organizations in other states, national organizations, as well as the crushers, exporters, biodiesel producers and livestock producers.” - Grant Kimberley, senior director of market development