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Innovation to Profit Conference

February 10, 2022 | Kriss Nelson

On-farm research results that support a systems approach to improved production, soil health and water management for a profitable farming operation will be featured at the Iowa Soybean Association’s (ISA) Innovation to Profit conference on Feb. 17 at the FFA Enrichment Center in Ankeny.

Breakout sessions will feature a wide variety of topics, including nitrogen source timing and management. Attendees will also learn about ISA’s Research Center for Farming Innovation (RCFI) trials and have an opportunity to participate in an interactive economics game with RCFI staff.

Matt Erickson, ag economic and policy advisor for Farm Credit Services of America, will offer an in-depth preview of the economics of growing a soybean crop in 2022.

“By attending the conference, guests will see a wide variety of our programs,” says Ed Anderson, senior director of research at ISA.

Programs include in-field and edge-of-field on-farm research that help farmers in their own fields.

“They are able to evaluate various products and practices that holistically address agronomics and conservation opportunities,” says Anderson.

Attendees will also have the chance to participate in an RCFI Think Tank. This session will provide forward-looking discussions of how RCFI research, communications and outreach can proactively support Iowa soybean farmers to be the most profitable, productive and sustainable suppliers of soybeans for current and emerging domestic and global markets.

“The Think Tank will give insight into where the soybean industry is going,” says Anderson. “What should soybean farmers be thinking about, evaluating and implementing in the next five to 20 years? What is the value chain going to look like? How can they proactively respond to the future needs of society and positively influence their farming operations and the soybean industry?”

The conference will also dive deeper into new and emerging markets, providing information to farmers on what they need to know before the next growing season.

The full-day event is an opportunity to view soybean checkoff dollars at work, says ISA President Robb Ewoldt, a farmer near Davenport.

Results and information that will be brought to farmers at the conference are programs and research the farmer board members said ISA should invest in, notes Ewoldt. This grassroots approach has served ISA members for decades and continues to drive ISA research priorities today.

“The programs and research results are important to the farmers who are on the board, so it is most likely just as important to other farmers in Iowa. Our checkoff dollars are being used to help us be more profitable,” Ewoldt says.

Bringing data to farmers

There is tremendous value in ISA’s information and decision tools using data collected from on-farm research, university and company collaborations. Predictive models, decision tools and the technical assistance ISA’s staff provide help farmers make everyday decisions. “We try to integrate data so farmers get more than they would get by just working with someone whose only focus is on agronomy or conservation,” says Anderson. “Conference attendees can expect to receive unbiased, science-based and credible information without anyone trying to sell them anything.”

Engaging producers

Farmers can expect to engage directly with ISA staff at the conference, gaining insights from those conducting the research trials, developing marketing opportunities for Iowa soybean farmers, and ultimately focusing on improving the productivity and profitability of Iowa’s farmers.

Data, information and tools can be found on ISA’s website and farmers are encouraged to talk with ISA staff.

“Greater engagement involves active participation in our on-farm research trials and conservation programs,” says Anderson. “Farmers can even become members of our Research Advisory Council or ISA board.”

These participant opportunities are intended to bring value to the farmer – not to be time-consuming or costly.

“Our research trials and technical assistance programs are geared toward advancing farming operations, where efforts are outweighed by the benefits returned,” says Anderson.

Something for everyone

Although geared toward soybean farmers, the Innovation to Profit conference will benefit those wanting to learn more about the soybean industry or agriculture, markets, demand and the broader work done on farmers’ behalf by the ISA.

“I know that farmers have a lot of meeting opportunities to consider during the winter months. They have to prioritize what meetings to go to, but we are all interested in profitability, and it’s in the title,” says Ewoldt.

See agenda and RSVP at iasoybeans.com/profit44