Iowa soybean farmer standing near combine

(Photo: Joclyn Bushman/Iowa Soybean Association)

Meet the Director: Tom Adam

March 3, 2023

Location: Harper, Iowa

Title: District 9 Director

ISA Committees: Supply and Information & Education

What crops and livestock do you grow on the farm?

I grow soybeans, corn, winter wheat and a little bit of hay. I used to raise hogs and cattle but gave that up in recent years to give myself time to travel.

How does your personal philosophy match the mission of the Iowa Soybean Association (ISA)?

My personal philosophy is to invest where I get the best return for my dollar. I see that aligning very well with the way other board members view our job on the ISA board.

What’s the latest innovation that gets you excited about the future of soybeans?

Biofuels. There’s a huge demand potential for the oil. In a few years, the oil is going to be outpacing meal as the most valuable component of the soybean.

How do you envision production agriculture 50 years from now?

In 1970, we had 3.7 billion people on this planet. Some statistics show in 1970 there were 2 billion who were living in extreme poverty. Today, we have 8 billion people living in this world and less than 1 billion in extreme poverty. I know in the last couple years with the pandemic we’ve gone backward a bit, but in general, the trend has been going in the right direction.

There are a lot of changes that happen in 50 years. It’s hard to have a crystal ball, but in the last 50 years with biotechnology, chemicals, fertilizer and GPS, it’s clear technology is improving. Because of these things, I see the future to be so much better.

What’s the best piece of advice (industry-related or otherwise) you’ve ever been given?

I don’t know where I got it from, but there are three things that kind of go together: Keep an open mind, embrace change and be flexible with your farming operation.

What’s something people don’t usually know about you?

In 1980 and 1981, I worked for Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation assisting with bank examinations across Iowa, mostly in small rural banks. It was a period when the federal reserve was tightening credit and interest rates skyrocketed to historic levels. This time was quite the eye-opener for me to see how a single policy change could so drastically affect farmers’ bottom lines.