Laura Tirado, Walford | Members of ISA
June 8, 2023
Q&A with Laura Tirado, Walford
What got you involved in ISA?
I wanted to be involved in some commodity group to further my education through programs and learn about what’s happening. I started in the Experience Class – my first interaction with the Iowa Soybean Association (ISA).
Did you think Experience Class was a good place to start getting involved with ISA?
I thought it was awesome. Seeing all the programs, the science behind things, and how deeply connected ISA is was eye-opening.
Also, to see the effort put forth by the association – it’s endless. Anytime someone doesn’t have the answer, someone else does. It could be another grower, or you (ISA) will find the answer. I think that’s important to the needs of farmers. Having that resource to learn and grow and see that ISA goes and fights for what farmers truly need is amazing.
What have you gained from your involvement with ISA?
I’ve gained so much knowledge. For me, some of that is specifically more on the government side, like what we do to support our growers on policy. That is so desperately needed.
ISA is also willing to listen to the farmers and hear them say what they want and don’t want before they make a decision. You don’t find that very often. I believe it is important that we have an association that will support farmers and do it the way the farmer wants it done.
Does the research and news from ISA benefit you as an agronomist?
Yes, I often ask farmers if they’ve used research tools on ISA’s website or tried this thing ISA did a research trial on. Or I can say, “I was recently at this event and overheard this from this company. Have you looked into it?” The other nice thing is that I can walk onto a grower’s farm and mention, “Oh, I saw you did this recently with ISA. Can you tell me more about that?” So that’s nice.
Why is it important for young people to get involved in ISA?
Young people should get involved for learning and camaraderie. The nice thing about commodity groups is that I could converse with a farmer on the other side of the state, but I have something in common with them. I could also meet a farmer that’s across the street from me. Getting involved in these groups gives you better answers and knowledge. When you have better data, you can transform results, which is important.
It also opens the doors to many things, like current trial opportunities. You could participate in a trial for a season and then do it for the rest of your farming career because you found proof in the pudding. You won’t do it if you don’t see or hear that.
What would you tell your fellow farmers about being involved with ISA?
Using science-backed tools can help you identify what would work in your operation. Iowa Soybean narrows down data that will work right here in Iowa versus going to Google and finding data on something, but it’s in Pennsylvania. People who aren’t involved miss an opportunity to have.
Why would you encourage others to be involved in ISA programs?
I would say that it’s the best. The effort ISA has put into programming is incredible. The staff and the board have made this farmer-focused and ensured it would stay with the farmer long term. I would say be a part of ISA because they are so transparent – especially in how they care for farmers. Just sign up. ISA membership offers the opportunity to learn, connect, and gain insights you may not have had access to.
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