Chief Officer, Strategy and Brand Management

(Photo: Iowa Soybean Association / Joclyn Bushman)

Resolve to be involved

December 1, 2023 | Aaron Putze, APR

A new year is knocking on your door.

Sure, you can ignore the dropping of the ball in Times Square on New Year’s Eve. You can bypass the confetti, parties and party favors. You can even skip watching "Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve with Ryan Seacrest" (can’t say I blame you) and be sound asleep before the clock strikes midnight.

But you can’t ignore (or even delay) the passage of time.

All of us are presented with an indefinite number of “new years.” Unknown to us is the amount of time we have with family, getting after it on the farm, being part of a team, going to work for an association, making an impact. Years (and days) are fleeting, as are the number of crops you plant and harvest.

We’ve all mourned the loss of loved ones; my dad, Edward, passed in 2017. What if they could pay us a visit and speak with us now? What would be their perspective on making the most of the moment? What wisdom would they share about the passage of time? What would they do if they could do it all over again? My hunch is they would advise us not to squander a year, day, hour, or even a minute. They would encourage us to make the most of the opportunity each day offers.

The laws of physics tell us a body in motion stays in motion. Conversely, a body at rest remains at rest. The soybean industry needs you to be a body in motion, engaging on issues impacting you, your family and neighbor. The issues are too important and the stakes too high to leave the effort to someone else.

There’s no better time than 2024 to engage and make a difference. The Iowa Soybean Association (ISA) can lend a hand. Perhaps it’s time to plant that cover crop, install a bioreactor or seed pollinator habitat — you know, those things you’ve been putting off “until next year.” Make 2024 the year you submit that ISA Advocate membership that’s been laying on your desk or say “yes” when called to participate in the ISA Experience Class or Communications Squad or run as a candidate for an ISA director seat.

How about 2024 be the year you finally attend ISA’s annual legislative reception, to be held Tuesday, Jan. 30 (mark it on your calendar now!). After mingling with legislators, continue the conversation the next day with a visit to the statehouse and Iowa Ag Expo (tickets to the latter compliments of ISA).

If you think your involvement and actions don’t make a difference, please reconsider. Every conservation practice adds to your legacy by leaving our land and water better for future generations. Every agronomic research trial adds to the collective data collected by ISA. This enables the association to make more informed recommendations to farmers to reduce pests and disease and increase yields.

Finally, every conversation with an elected leader is time well spent. Some “napkin math” done by ISA’s Sr. Director of Public Affairs Michael Dolch finds that just 4% of those serving in the U.S. Congress (and 18% of Iowa’s legislature) are directly involved in production agriculture. Providing first-hand perspectives of how the issues they debate impact the everyday lives of their constituents is powerful. It makes elected leaders more effective public servants and reinforces the need for reasonable and thoughtful policy.

A new year is knocking on your door. Open it. To help make the most of it, send me a note at or give me a call at 515-975-4168.