(Photo: Joseph L. Murphy/Iowa Soybean Association)
Passion grows when roots run deep
March 15, 2021 | Lauren Houska
Sisters Lexi and Macy Marek grew up on a sixth-generation diversified grain and livestock family farm in Riverside. Their grandfather, Larry Marek, served on ISA’s Board of Directors and the United Soybean Board (USB) and helped the Marek sisters cultivate an appreciation for the land and the work of the Iowa Soybean Association’s (ISA) soybean checkoff.
What have you been up to since you were named an ISA Rising Star?
Lexi: I graduated from Iowa State University in 2017 with a bachelor’s degree in Public Service and Administration in Agriculture with minors in Journalism and Entrepreneurship. After graduation, I started my career at a startup called FarmHer and then went to the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship (IDALS), working with Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Mike Naig. I recently embarked on a new adventure as Digital Marketing Manager for Pig Improvement Company (PIC). The idea of bringing new ideas into a well-established company (PIC was founded in 1962) and focusing on the digital experience is very exciting to me.
Macy: I graduated from Iowa State University in 2019 with a bachelor’s degree in Agricultural Education with a teacher’s certification and a minor in Animal Science. In 2017, I interned at the Iowa Soybean Association (ISA), which gave me valuable insight into the work of the association. In 2019, I student taught at an inner-city high school in Houston, Texas, which was incredibly rewarding. Following graduation, I joined the Corteva Agriscience team, and I’m now a Territory Manager in Quincy, Illinois. I’m excited for another new adventure.
What is one piece of advice you would give someone just starting their career or education in agriculture?
Lexi: Never be too big for a job. You never know how tasks that seem small can turn into bigger opportunities or experiences that are rewarding for you and others.
Macy: Never close doors on opportunities. Keep your head down and work hard and opportunities will continue to find you. There are limitless ways to get involved and make your mark.
What does legacy mean to you?
Lexi: My grandpa, Larry Marek, always made sure that we understood that our family farm had a global impact. He taught us the importance of family and taking care of our land so it can continue for generations. He has always been a huge supporter of farmers working together and associations like ISA facilitating that work. I believe in the value ISA provides and want to see it continue to be a resource for the agriculture industry.
Macy: My grandpa is someone I have always looked up to. He’s the first person I call when I have questions about agriculture. Like him, I look forward to finding opportunities to engage with ISA in the future. Ultimately, no matter what I do or where I go, I will always have something to tie my roots back to — our sixth-generation family farm. Everything I do now is to help keep those roots strong for future generations.
“We’re so proud of all of our grandchildren. The girls started showing pigs around four years old and their passion for agriculture only grew from there. I’ve truly enjoyed being their “agriculture encyclopedia” and I know they now share that knowledge with others. Having young people involved in agricultural organizations is important to build a strong future for agriculture.” — Larry Marek
ISA Leadership Awards are presented annually to individuals and organizations in recognition of outstanding work on behalf of Iowa soybean farmers and the farming profession. Highlighted in the March 2021 issue of the Iowa Soybean Review are four families who exemplify the true legacy of leadership within the soybean industry. This story was originally published in the March 2021 issue of the Iowa Soybean Review.