Editor of the Iowa Soybean Review

(Photo: Iowa Soybean Association / Joclyn Bushman)

Rural Route 2: In Thanksgiving

November 1, 2023 | Bethany Baratta

I’m blessed to have known essentially what I’ve wanted to do for a living since middle school. I grew up watching my mom string words together to create radio advertising scripts. Decades later, a career shift meant moving from journalism to healthcare, but she snagged a position with a local newspaper to craft columns and provide freelance coverage of our community events on nights and weekends. I saw her talk to local people we knew from school or church, and I knew I wanted to do that someday.

That same local newspaper (the Oelwein Daily Register) and others gave me a chance to dabble in writing and coverage when I was in high school. I continued during breaks in college, covering city council meetings, a RAGBRAI stop in our small town of 1,000, summer tornadoes and flooding. There was even a time I couldn’t get to the office in downtown Waterloo because of the rising floodwaters; a makeshift office popped up at the local community college.

It wasn’t until a meeting with my journalism instructor and newspaper advisor at North Iowa Area Community College (NIACC) that it finally clicked. Mr. Peterson asked if I had thought about ag journalism. Turns out, that’s the name for the genre of publications my parents regularly read, clipped articles from and saved in the magazine rack for future reference. Other internships and experiences with community newspapers, ag associations and ag publications transpired, each having their own ag angle to pursue.

Do we choose our professions? Or are they chosen for us? I’m certain it was divine intervention. There’s a reason why the internships in bigger cities — several hours out of state — didn’t work out. And now, I know I’m where I’m supposed to be. I’m blessed to stay closely connected to my family and the farm. I’m grateful to have a talented team of writers, a photographer and a designer who carefully build this publication monthly. They devote time and attention to the subjects, thoughtfully considering how each challenge impacts you on the farm. We know we’re a resource to you, and we always want to be.

In this season of Thanksgiving, I give thanks for a tremendous team and for the farmers we serve. I know how lucky I am to have faithful readers of this publication. Thank you. I appreciate how you dive into the magazine monthly. You spend time on the phone talking to me, and you loan me the buddy seat. Just as many of you have always known that farming was in your future, I’ve known that telling your stories and digging into the challenges in agriculture has been a part of mine. Thank you for being a part of my life story.

P.S. Have a soy question you’d like us to research? Know of someone we should meet? Email me bbaratta@iasoybeans.com or call me at 515-334-1020.