Editor of the Iowa Soybean Review

(Photo: Joclyn Bushman/Iowa Soybean Association)

Rural Route 2: A new resolution

February 7, 2023 | Bethany Baratta

Does your 2023 “to-do” list contain any of these popular New Year’s resolutions?

  • Exercise more;
  • Eat healthier;
  • Lose weight;
  • Save more money;
  • Spend more time with family and friends; or
  • Spend less time on social media?

While I’m not one to make resolutions (or “revolutions,” as my son calls them), I do have a few things I’m committing to this year.

  • Pray more, worry less;
  • Learn more about those around me (coworkers, farmers and other industry experts);
  • Celebrate every day (not every day is good, but there is something good in every day);
  • Go on more adventures; and
  • Learn something new.

I’ve set these resolutions or goals loose for interpretation (and repetition). Not every one of these 365 days will be perfect in my quest toward these resolutions. But so far, so good.

These days, I’m intentionally adding meetings and conferences to learn more about the soybean industry. Each opportunity provides the experts and information that will help me grow individually and professionally. I’m looking forward to the Innovation to Profit Conference, hosted by Iowa Soybean Association’s (ISA) Research Center for Farming Innovation on Feb. 16, to learn more about research results and opportunities for farmers in 2023. Plus, I’m excited to learn from Anja Manuel, a former diplomat, author and advisor on foreign policy. Seneca Wallace, former Iowa State and NFL player and business owner, is another highlight on the agenda.

Tagging along with farmers in the tractor or combine (or leaning over the side of the truck to talk) is one of the best parts of my job. I’m also lucky to surround myself with agronomists and specialists who invite staff to participate in job shadowing opportunities. During a recent job shadow, I learned more about setting up a field trial related to cover crops and manure application.

There’s no doubt that farmers resolve to do better every year. Sometimes, it means changing a practice to be more productive or profitable. Unlike most resolutions, which involve more willpower, farmers can’t control the weather, which is a significant factor in farming.

If your list of resolutions includes building a Rolodex of experts who can help you be more productive and profitable, consider the experts at ISA. The concerns on your farm and your business goals drive the work they do daily.

This issue of the Iowa Soybean Review gave me a boost toward achieving my New Year’s resolution of learning new things. Consider the topics covered in this issue: Checkoff investments and matching through the Research Center for Farming Innovation, efforts in drainage water recycling, conservation myth-busting, and the Agriculture’s Clean Water Alliance’s collaborative work in water quality before the creation of the Iowa Nutrient Reduction Strategy.

I wish you luck achieving your New Year’s resolutions (or “revolutions”), and I hope to see you at the Innovation to Profit Conference!