Editor of the Iowa Soybean Review

(Photo: Iowa Soybean Association / Joclyn Bushman)

Rural Route 2: Passing the torch

May 31, 2024 | Bethany Baratta

Two separate torches have been lit, signifying the ceremonial start of something big.  

In one month, one torch will ignite the Olympic cauldron in Paris. That ceremony will consist of elaborate pageantry and serve as the start of the Olympics games. The torch was lit in Greece in April; in relay style, more than 10,000 torchbearers are carrying the flame from Greece to Paris. It ends with the opening ceremony in late July, kicking off the Olympic games where 10,500 athletes will be vying for gold medals in their respective events.  

The other torch consists of a different kind of pageantry in July, but one that will shape the future of the Iowa Soybean Association (ISA) and soybean farming in Iowa. The ‘torch’ of the ISA Board of Directors has been lit for decades. Like the Olympic torch, it’s been relayed person-to-person (farmer-to-farmer). But this torch-lighting won’t end with 10,500 athletes battling in events like trampoline, canoe sprint and climbing. This one ends with seven directors seated on the ISA Board of Directors, rounding out the 22-member board. Together, they are trusted to make decisions on behalf of nearly 40,000 farmers in Iowa. 

The farmers who make up the board are tasked with allocating checkoff dollars in areas like engagement, productivity and demand. They also map out the direction for the association.  

Like Olympians, the 15 candidates vying for seven seats in this year’s ISA director election have years of experience. They’ve trained for this. As I condensed the biographies for the candidates to fit the voting guide in this magazine, I noted how each could contribute to conversations and decisions related to production research, demand, consumer engagement and several other topics discussed during board meetings. They’re ready to serve their fellow farmers. 

If you annually market 250 bushels of soybeans, you can expect a voting guide and additional voting instructions in the mail soon. Think about how these candidates will carry the torch for ISA. Your voice (and vote!) matters in your farm journey, and I hope you’ll take the opportunity to vote and connect with the directors. I can’t wait to see who you’ve selected to serve on your ISA team.