Editor of the Iowa Soybean Review

(Photo: Iowa Soybean Association / Joclyn Bushman)

Rural Route 2: Let's build together

July 7, 2023 | Bethany Baratta

On any given weekend, you can usually find my family circled up in our living room surrounded by approximately 1 million colored pieces of plastic building blocks, commonly known as bricks or Legos. Our son reaches for the smaller pieces to recreate a favorite character in Lego form. My husband and I reach for the larger pieces, creating a solid base to place our smaller creations.

Perhaps one of the best qualities of Lego bricks is that, with few exceptions, each piece connects to another. Our son has even shown us how you can lie a Lego piece on its side — even without the brick-and-knob connection — and squeeze them into a row on a separate Lego piece to make a platform. Talk about flexibility.

Independently, the Lego pieces are sturdy and useful. But together, the bricks form a creation that’s usually colorful and sometimes even functional. Ultimately, it takes all kinds of Legos to create a masterpiece.

Iowa Soybean Association (ISA) membership is much the same. You — Iowa’s farmers — are the true building blocks. Independently, you have your own strengths. But combined, like the Legos stored in totes in our living room, you come together to build a masterpiece. The ISA staff is here to help engineer the building blocks — seeing how individual pieces and programs can strengthen the association and provide you with the opportunities to become more productive, profitable and sustainable.

In this issue, you’ll learn how farmer members are finding their fit in ISA. Whether it’s discovering new opportunities through on-farm research trials, learning more about the association through the Soy Squad, growing their skills in the Communications Squad or familiarizing themselves with the policies that impact their farms through the Policy Leaders Fellowship, ISA farmer members are collectively building experiences together.

Whether it’s through a trial or a program, there are several ways to engage with ISA. But first, we need to make sure you’re a member. If you market 250 bushels or more of soybeans annually, you are eligible for a no-cost farmer membership. To unlock this opportunity, go to iasoybeans.com/membership or contact me and I will connect you.

I can’t wait to see what we build together.