Kolton and Lindsay Greiner

(Photo: Joseph L. Murphy/Iowa Soybean Association)

Generations of leadership

March 15, 2021

The Greiner family grows soybeans and corn and raises hogs near Keota. In 2012, Lindsay Greiner was recognized with the Iowa Soybean Association’s (ISA) New Leader Award. Two years later, Lindsay’s youngest son Kolton was presented the Rising Star Award. Lindsay went on to serve as ISA President in 2018, and Kolton now serves farmers through his role with Cargill.

How did your awards impact you and help shape your future? 

Lindsay: It’s quite an honor because the awards are selected by fellow farmers. To me, it meant they had enough faith in me to serve and represent my peers in future leadership roles. When I got the New Leader Award, I felt like I hadn’t really done much besides participate in meetings. This award enthused me and gave me confidence that I could make a difference, so I kept going. I was appointed to serve on the board of directors the next year. I ran for election the following year and was elected president in 2019. After my presidency ended, I was elected to serve on the United Soybean Board. 

Kolton: I was thrilled to be selected as that year’s Rising Star and the ISA scholarship courtesy of Farm Credit helped fund my education in Ames. ISA has played a big role in other opportunities granted to me since then because of my award and those I met when I received it. I have now been working with Cargill for several years and currently serve 140 farmers in Iowa, helping make their operations as profitable as possible. 

What does the ISA legacy mean to you? 

Lindsay: Whenever a group of your peers honors you, it means a lot. It really humbles me because I don’t think I’ve done anything that special. Everything I’ve done has been with my farmer hat on, and if that’s helped me represent other farmers, then I guess I’m doing something right. It is also a treat to keep my family involved with ISA and to watch my son be recognized, too. 

Kolton: I’ve always known I wanted to be involved in ag, and the ISA award solidified it for me. Especially nowadays where I regularly see checkoff dollars come out of loads brought to Cargill, I feel closer in knowing how those dollars benefit farmers. It meant a lot for an organization like ISA to recognize me as a rising leader. 

What’s your message to other soybean farmers? 

Kolton: Being in grain marketing, 2020 and 2021 showed us how different two years can be. We went from $8 to $14 beans in six months, so it’s more important than ever to have a marketing plan. You could also take that logic outside of your operation if you consider getting involved with an organization like ISA. Even if you don’t become a board member, there are research trials, sustainability projects and other ways to benefit your operation. Farming isn’t going anywhere, its going to become more important to take advantage of these things, especially if yours is a generational business like our farm. 

Lindsay: Farming is a business of highs and lows. Prices go up and down, sometimes it rains, sometimes it doesn’t. But farmers, by nature, have a spirit that welcomes a challenge. That’s the reward we get when we’re doing our job. I started my involvement with ISA slowly – just a couple meetings per year. I enjoyed it and the other farmers I met. I noticed every farmer I spoke with was looking inside themselves to see what they could do to contribute to our industry. Anybody that has an inkling of getting involved in a commodity group should take advantage of it. You will grow as an individual and as a farmer.

ISA Leadership Awards are presented annually to individuals and organizations in recognition of outstanding work on behalf of Iowa soybean farmers and the farming profession. Highlighted in the March 2021 issue of the Iowa Soybean Review are four families who exemplify the true legacy of leadership within the soybean industry. This story was originally published in the March 2021 issue of the Iowa Soybean Review.