Soybean plant near harvest time

(Photo: Iowa Soybean Association / Joclyn Bushman)

Iowa Soybean Research Center celebrates Soybean Month

July 28, 2023

Soybeans are always front and center at the Iowa Soybean Research Center (ISRC) at Iowa State University (ISU). But this month, we also join others in hosting a variety of activities celebrating soybeans during Soybean Month in Iowa.

ISRC is hosting several educational outreach activities to promote soybeans and soybean research at ISU, including the following:

August 2 | Experience Class

ISRC will host the Iowa Soybean Association’s (ISA) Experience Class at ISU’s Field Extension Education Laboratory near Boone with a tour of the teaching farm, demonstration plots and an opportunity to learn from ISU graduate students and staff about how to identify soybean diseases. The group also will stop at the nearby Agricultural Engineering and Agronomy Research Farm, where they will learn more about a new ISRC-funded research project to study continuous soybean production with the goal of helping Iowa farmers meet an anticipated increase in demand for soy oil in coming years.

August 2 | Packaging meals

Also on Aug. 2, 50 ISU students, staff and faculty volunteers will package more than 38,000 meals for Meals from the Heartland at ISU’s Hansen Agriculture Student Learning Center. This is the third consecutive year for the event, sponsored by Cargill through generous monetary donations to cover the cost of the ingredients, including soy protein. Meals from the Heartland works with teams of volunteers from local organizations who package meals for delivery to food insecure people in Iowa, across the U.S. and around the world. Some of the meals packaged at the ISRC-hosted event will stay in Ames and be delivered to ISU’s on-campus food pantry, SHOP (Students Helping Our Peers), and a long-time food pantry in Ames, Food at First. The remaining meals will be distributed as needed.

August 7 | Annual field tour

ISRC will take a one-day field trip with ISU soybean researchers, staff and graduate students from campus in the departments of agronomy, agricultural and biosystems engineering and plant pathology, entomology, and microbiology on its annual field tour. These tours are a favorite of many who have participated and provide attendees with an opportunity to experience farm operations and agricultural-related businesses that grow or work with soybeans firsthand. On a few occasions, it has been the first time that a tour participant has visited a farm. This year’s tour will visit Bruce and Jenny Wessling’s farm near Grand Junction to learn about their low-till farming operation. They grow 4,600 acres of corn and soybeans and finish nearly 19,000 pigs each year. Another stop on the tour will be Clayton Farms, an indoor vertical farm that grows local produce hydroponically. The farm is located at the ISU Research Park in Ames.

August 23 | SoyFest

The highlight event of the year for the center is SoyFest. ISRC will host its second biennial SoyFest on ISU’s central campus near the Parks Library from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. This free, outdoor celebration of all things soy features Iowa vendors, ISU research labs and student clubs to highlight the importance of soy and its many uses in everyday life from food to innovative products. SoyFest will offer grilled pork and soy-veggie burgers, soy-related snacks, robotic and other technological demonstrations, soy-themed prize giveaways, carnival games, a special drawing for students, soy-based ice cream and a visit from ISU's mascot, Cy. The event is a fun, educational opportunity for ISU students during the first week of classes, and the public is welcome to attend. Two exciting, new games at SoyFest will be a putting green hosted by SYNLawn made with artificial soy-backed grass and a wooden “Soyhole” beanbag toss game donated by Columbia Forest Products and made with its PureBond® soy-based adhesive decorative plywood.

Some of the participating businesses and groups contributing to SoyFest 2023 include ISA, the Iowa Food & Family Project, ISU Creamery, Corteva Agriscience, the Iowa Turkey Federation, Hy-Vee, Iowa Smokehouse, Old Capitol Food Co., Okabashi Shoes, Laura Soybeans, Ames Ford Lincoln, Chevron-REG, U.S. Department of Agriculture and numerous ISU undergraduate student clubs. Several ISU researchers funded by ISA also will provide hands-on learning experiences.

We look forward to hosting the ISA Experience Class and appreciate the continued support of ISA and the Iowa Food & Family Project at our SoyFest event. We are also grateful for support from the many organizations, farmers and researchers that help us with all of our events.

Keep up with ISRC’s activities on Twitter @ISU_SoyCenter, LinkedIn, or at and sign up for our quarterly newsletter.