Iowa Soybean Review Editor

(Photo: Iowa Soybean Association / Joclyn Bushman)

Rural Route 2: Take a bow

January 10, 2024 | Bethany Baratta

My son danced in the aisle as the “Wish” credits turned, his shoes seemingly bouncing off the sticky theatre floors thanks to the Icee, popcorn and M&Ms he just enjoyed. The closing credits crawled as we summarized the Disney movie. Waiting to leave the theatre until the last credit rolls is something I learned during a theatre appreciation course at North Iowa Area Community College (NIACC). My instructor, Tim Slaven, noted that each person listed in the credits of a film — no matter how big or small of a part — played a role in making the movie magic happen.

It really is about the people who make it happen, isn’t it? The cast who carries out the mission and the vision? While doing research for upcoming stories surrounding the Iowa Soybean Association’s (ISA) 60th year, I’ve learned a lot about the farmer leaders who have shaped this association. Take the Hecks, the Bardoles, and the Lathams, for example. Each family has been involved in the industry for generations. They’ve left their marks through biodiesel, global soy nutrition, seed technology and in countless other ways. There are hundreds, likely thousands, of others who have also helped make the soybean magic happen.

Among them, eight farmers and leaders who recently accepted ISA Leadership Awards during ISA’s Winter Soy Summit. As their highlight reels played and award sponsors joined them on stage, it was evident why each of the recipients were chosen. In their own ways, each recipient has advanced the industry through their participation in ISA activities and by showing up with and for farmers.

We have an amazing cast in our state’s soybean industry. You won’t see their names in the end credits of a Disney movie; their impact is much more personal. They’re the volunteer leaders who step forward for board positions. The farmers who keep their head down and their chin up and raise a crop year over year. In this issue, you’ll learn more about ISA President Suzanne Shirbroun, the sixth generation on her family’s farm. Meet the Hilbert brothers, who are just getting started farming in real life. Celebrate our ISA Leadership Award winners — names you’ll recognize for their decades of work with and for ISA, and some names you might be seeing for the first time.

Here’s to the state’s soybean cast members — no matter how big or small of a part — your work is admired and appreciated as we continue to grow into ISA’s 60th year. Take a bow.

P.S. Many of you have reached out regarding my dad’s hospitalization. I’m happy to report that he is home, and we spent the holidays giving thanks for family, friends, healthcare workers and all those who aided his homecoming.