Iowa Soybean Association Chief Officer of Strategy and

(Photo: Iowa Soybean Association / Joclyn Bushman)

Celebrating our independence

July 7, 2023 | Aaron Putze, APR

I have cherished memories of celebrating the July 4 holiday as a farm kid from West Bend. The bustling community knew how to throw a mid-summer party. Carnival rides crowded the main street. There was a parade, live music, food stands by the dozens and a toy tractor pull contest for kids.

To this day, I recall the rush of adrenaline and anticipation as we worked to complete our farm chores so we could dash to town. Once there, we enjoyed the bright lights, popcorn, burgers and cotton candy, time with friends and, at dusk, a sky illuminated by fireworks.

In the spirit of full disclosure, the true reason for Independence Day wasn’t front and center as a kid. Top of mind was getting out of the soybean field and livestock pens and into West Bend for the fun and frivolity, not celebrating the Second Continental Congress’ vote in 1776 declaring the U.S. independent from Great Britain.

Independence is defined as “the fact or state of being independent.”

We’ve reveled in freedom as a country far beyond barbecues, concerts, baseball games, parades and fireworks. We’ve built a system of governance that, while strained at times, remains the envy of other countries.

But the power of independence isn’t limited to our democratic republic’s form of governance. Soybean farmers benefit from the independence gained from their investment in the soybean checkoff. A shining example is the work of the Iowa Soybean Association’s (ISA) Research Center for Farming Innovation (RCFI).

I was reminded of this during recent conversations with fellow ISA staff and industry stakeholders gathered for multistate soybean meetings in the Quad Cities. While discussing the topic of data, we unanimously agreed on its importance and usefulness. We also acknowledged the vast amounts of data that exist and, begrudgingly, the difficulty sifting through it and making it relevant to the individual farmer at the location and time most needed.

But with every challenge comes opportunity. ISA, backed by data collected by a talented team of agronomists, researchers and analysts, is uniquely positioned to put this data to use for farmers. Given ISA is owned and governed by the farmers who founded it almost 60 years ago, so, too, is the data gathered from soybean fields throughout the state.

With that ownership comes great independence. We take pride in going where the data leads. As we unlock the best method for delivering the actionable intelligence contained within the data, farmers can have the utmost confidence that every recommendation is made objectively and with only their best interests in mind. That’s because ISA acts and operates independently, unbridled from shareholders and stockholders.

ISA is Driven to Deliver for farmers because of the independent work and ideas generated by the soybean checkoff. The next step in this value proposition is unlocking the incredible value of data by making it relevant and more usable to the individual farmer where and how they farm. Stay tuned.