ISA farmer member Jacob Bolson stands in his soybean fi

Iowa Soybean Association farmer member Jacob Bolson stands in his soybean field in Hardin County. (Photo credits: Joseph Hopper/Iowa Soybean Association)

Member spotlight: Jacob Bolson

July 22, 2021 | Joseph Hopper

For Jacob Bolson and his family, farming is a dream come true. Growing up on a 105-acre hobby farm near Decorah, the ISA member pursued his farming dreams by gaining skills working on a neighboring farm. After graduating from Iowa State University in 2007, he met his future wife, who has her own family farming background.

“I have always loved agriculture, and I consider myself to being as close to a farm boy as it gets without actually being a farm boy,” Bolson says.

Making their home in Hardin County, Bolson works full-time at John Deere. He joins his wife’s father and brothers to help out on their family farm — jokingly referring to his role as executive assistant of the farm. Bolson’s childhood dream of growing his own farm became the family dream, and it came true. Through the Practical Farmers of Iowa Find a Farmer program, Bolson was able to find the land he needed.

“It’s 139 acres of tillable, there’s 20 or 30 acres of pasture we’ll get some cows on later this year from my wife’s family,” says Bolson.

Through the Iowa Soybean Association’s weekly newsletter, he found an opportunity that was the right fit for his acres.

“I’ve been a long-time subscriber to ISA’s e-newsletter,” Bolson says. “I love reading agriculture stuff. I wanted to diversify this farm and go to beans. Thanks to one of the Thursday afternoon ISA newsletters, I learned about this opportunity that Benson Hill was looking for people to raise non-GMO soybeans.”

Being involved and engaged is important to Bolson. He quickly became a member of the Iowa Soybean Association and joined the ISA Experience class.

“I like the Iowa Soybean Association for a few different reasons,” Bolson says. “ISA’s work with field research I think is excellent, I think it’s some of the best in the state of Iowa. I like ISA’s work around crop diversity, like non-GMO soybeans. I like how ISA in general is pretty agnostic to ‘we don’t care if it’s a biotech soybean, non-GMO soybean, organic soybean, we’re going to talk about soybeans,’ I like that it’s agnostic to what the grower chooses to raise.”

Bolson also appreciates ISA’s research and efforts related to water quality and soil conservation, acknowledging growing public interest on the agricultural subjects.

His father-in-law's farm also has two saturated buffers. Bolson says ISA was involved in the implementation of those buffer projects through an effort led by the Southfork Watershed Alliance, along with a diverse group of additional public and private organizations.Looking to the future, the Hubbard farmer says he hopes to build and grow relationships as a farmer and continue to grow his family farm, while also being a good steward of the land. Bolson says work has begun on a conservation plan with the NRCS as the farm has a lot of conservation and wildlife opportunities.

“I’m a big believer in soil conservation, water quality, caring for the land,” says Bolson.