Iowa soybean grower on his farm

(Photo: Joclyn Bushman/Iowa Soybean Association)

Member Feature: Gary Langbein

July 19, 2022 | Kriss Nelson

Struggles from generations preceding him have given Gary Langbein a greater appreciation for preserving his family’s farming legacy.

As a fourth-generation farmer, Langbein worked to save money to buy his first 160 acres after graduating college. He has been actively farming ever since.

“I wanted to buy a pickup, and my dad said no. I was offered to buy the 160 acres privately, which was a huge kickstart for me,” he says.

Langbein worked as a mechanic to help supplement his farming income and raised pigs until 2017. He farms nearly 1,000 acres of soybeans, corn, hay and pasture ground and raises 40 cow-calf pairs.

Conservation is a large part of Langbein’s farm management practices, including no-till and vertical till, and he has installed sediment basins, terraces and buffer strips.

Diving in

In 2021, Langbein joined the Iowa Soybean Association’s (ISA) Experience Class – a program for ISA farmer-members that delves into ISA’s four program areas: supply, demand, information and education, and policy.

“The Experience Class is the outside looking into ISA,” he says. “It was neat to learn how ISA policy development and education work so the general public can understand and to build trust.”

During his tenure with the Experience Class, Langbein witnessed a bill signing during a visit to the state capitol. A highlight of the program was a tour of the Mississippi River’s lock and dam system.

Langbein also appreciates the networking opportunities.

“I made a lot of good contacts with other farmers,” he says. “Those are people you can reach out and talk to.”

Langbein’s three adult children, Nicole, Brandon and Joe, are involved in agriculture and help on the family farm.

Langbein feels he leads by example through his involvement with ISA and other agricultural groups.

“Every time I come home from a meeting, they inquire,” he says. “My involvement sparks their interests. They are the next generation. In 10 to 15 years, I plan to turn the farm over to one or possibly all three of them.”

What advice does Langbein give to other ISA farmer-members?

“It’s always nice to have the opportunity to see how your checkoff dollars work and what they are used for,” he says. “People need to get involved and tell their story. If we are not telling our story, somebody else is.”