Editor of the Iowa Soybean Review magazine

(Photo: Iowa Soybean Association / Joclyn Bushman)

Rural Route 2: Diving In

July 27, 2023 | Bethany Baratta

I won’t forget the look on my son’s sun-kissed face when he learned he passed swimming lessons. He worked hard for 20 lessons — five days a week for four weeks — to pass the beginner lessons at the community pool. Upon learning he needed more practice and didn’t score high enough to pass the first time, he asked to repeat the two-week session.

He was committed. He found the perfect pair of swim goggles. He practiced during his days at the pool, preparing for his nightly lessons. Each evening, he jumped in, crouching less every time and immersing his 42-inch frame. He didn’t need anyone to catch him in the pool this time. He asked if he could jump in “just one more time” at the end of each lesson. His eyes lit up when the instructors said he could; his smile turned to a shiver as 7:30 p.m. approached too quickly.

Child jumping into pool

He went from being nervous on the edge of the pool, hesitant to jump in, to a confident swimmer.

His practice and persistence paid off.

It’s fun to see him use the edge of the pool as a springboard now, entertaining us as he twists in the air before flopping into the pool, frequently shouting “cannonball!” each time.

“Did you see that jump, Mom?!”

“I saw that, buddy!”

And I see you, too, readers.

Last year, you made quite the splash as you harvested nearly 587 million bushels of soybeans in Iowa, valued at more than $8.08 billion.

I see how you’re constantly thinking about inputs and outputs. How you’re praying for rain — not too much, but enough to keep your crops nourished.

You don’t yell “cannonball” (but maybe you should!). You don’t count the number of lessons — those are immeasurable on the farm.

In August, we celebrate Soybean Month in Iowa with Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds’ proclamation signing. But we recognize your commitment and persistence year-round.

Your checkoff investments are making a difference locally and globally. In 2022, your soybean checkoff invested more than $2.3 million in soil conservation, water quality and nutrient management. Leveraged with another $1.4 million in non-checkoff resources, this investment supported more than 40 Iowa Soybean Association (ISA) led soil and water quality projects. Your participation in local, state and national soybean activities, programs and board positions helps the industry dive deeper. Showing up at the statehouse or on Capitol Hill to talk to a policymaker gives credence to ISA priorities.

Thank you for your passion and persistence. I can’t wait to watch you glide into harvest — with or without goggles — and see the fruits of your labor.