Bethany Baratta, editor of the Iowa Soybean Review

(Photo: Joclyn Bushman/Iowa Soybean Association)

Rural Route 2: A year in review

November 29, 2022 | Bethany Baratta

It’s my favorite time of the year. It’s nearly Christmas time, but I’m referring to something else.

It’s almost time to crack open my new monthly calendar. In a few weeks, 2023 will be here, but I’ve refrained from writing anything in the crisp, white pages of the spiralbound beauty.

I spend a ridiculous amount of time browsing websites and standing in the calendar aisles of local office supply stores to find the perfect planner: not too big, not too small, something colorful so it sticks out in a pile of paper. After an absurd amount of research, the same brand and type of calendar usually makes it to my desk.

Unlike my mom and grandma, I’m not good at keeping a diary. There are annual diaries next to my bed that I started with good intentions, but then they were left nearly blank.

My monthly calendar serves as a bit of a diary for me. I often glance at it and reflect on the conversations, stories and events that made up the month. A glance at the months in my 2022 planner reveals some highs and lows: my husband’s shoulder surgery, which landed on my birthday (he asked first), a trip to New Orleans for the Commodity Classic, the funeral for Iowa Soybean Association (ISA) director Tom Oswald, visits back to the farm, the first day of kindergarten for our son, meeting advertisers and acquaintances at the Farm Progress Show, and the birth of our niece.

Monthly issues of the Iowa Soybean Review also help tell the annual story of Iowa agriculture. We’ve celebrated award winners during the Winter Soy Summit, reviewed trial opportunities and research at the Innovation to Profit Conference, and celebrated our members and the importance of soy to Iowa and our ag industry. We’ve also recognized challenges on the farm: drought, rising input costs, supply chain uncertainties, pests and diseases.

In this issue of the Review, we share some tips for selecting the best seed for your farm. We also cover how ISA’s Research Center for Farming Innovation is plotting out 2023 (you will want to attend the 2023 Innovation to Profit Conference in February!). Readers also hear from ISA CEO Kirk Leeds, who celebrates 30 years at ISA this month. It’s truly remarkable to see how the soybean industry has grown in the three decades since Kirk began his journey as ISA’s CEO.

Despite whatever 2022 has thrown at you or blessed you with, I’m glad you’re here. I appreciate your readership and all you do.

I’m curious — what were your highs for the year? Your lows? What are you looking forward to in 2023? I’d love to hear from you. Shoot a note to me at or give me a call at 515-334-1020.