Editor of the Iowa Soybean Review

(Photo: Iowa Soybean Association / Joclyn Bushman)

Rural Route 2: Time for bingo

April 30, 2024 | Bethany Baratta

“Bingo!” our son, Luca, yelled, beating his chest like Tarzan after shuttering O61 during an Easter round of bingo. Up until this point, he had been listening intently to his great grandmother, replying to every letter and number called: “not that one” and a sigh for the missed spaces, and a “yes!” for those letter-number sequences that matched his card. Like any good bingo player, he petitioned which combinations would make him a winner. He looked over at my card, then his dad’s, trying to judge who would win first.ISR editor's son

Playing bingo on Easter and Thanksgiving has been a tradition in my husband’s family for decades. I don’t know when it started, but I remember the first time I won. It was the first Thanksgiving I spent with his family. Adding me to the group meant one less chance for other family members to win one of five prize bags. In fact, when I won bingo that year, there was a ‘who invited her?!’ voiced among the players (maybe my husband?). My future mother-in-law quickly hushed the naysayer; she was one of the few who cheered as I collected my prize money. One year, since adding me to the family made five, my mother-in-law got us shirts that, when we stood together, spelled out bingo (or BIG NO when my husband, father-in-law, and brother-in-law sourly coordinated our t-shirt photo opp). That ‘B’ shirt still hangs in my closet.

These past few years, the farming bingo card has been wild. Who knew you could have drought and ‘one of my best yields ever’ in the same card? (I bet our seed companies did!). Despite this, Iowa farmers managed to turn it into an opportunity, harvesting 573 million bushels last year.

As you dip in and out of your fields this season, I hope you get to check off some of those winning spaces on your bingo card. I hope you shutter the FREE space when you need a win for the day, and I hope those glorious shots of sunshine and rain pull you closer to a winning round. Like Luca, I hope you get to beat your chest like Tarzan once you complete a successful year, and you collect your bingo winnings in the form of bushels collected and sold. In case you’re wondering, Luca’s winning bingo card was B5, I29, FREE, G51 and 061; his great grandma verified his card, and he collected his winnings.

P.S. I’m on a never-ending mission to learn more about the farmers who make up this great state, and I’d love to hear from you directly. Drop me a line at bbaratta@iasoybeans.com or call me at 515-334-1020.