Pat Murken stands in the field in front of a buffer str

Murken stands in the field in front of a buffer strip he’s jokingly nicknamed after ISA field services manager Teresa Middleton, who he’s frequently worked with since joining ISA. (Photo credit: Joseph Hopper/Iowa Soybean Association)

Member spotlight: Patrick Murken

June 10, 2021 | Joseph Hopper

Iowa Soybean Association farmer member Pat Murken, of Story City, remembers exactly when he became a farmer. He was 15 years old.

“My dad was busy, my grandpa was failing, my uncle took a job in town and my aunt Donna said, ‘Pat, that just leaves you,’” Murken says. “She said, ‘do you know what you’re doing?’ I said I thought so. She said, ‘okay, it’s yours.’”

Today, the 65-year-old Story County farmer is working just as hard as a half century ago and his inventive spirit is as strong as ever. Whether it’s being an early adopter of cover crops, repurposing and fabricating farm machinery or ensuring the family farming operation has waterways, CRP pollinator habitats and buffer strips, the longtime farmer’s focus on finding new opportunities, learning new things and his love for protecting the land made the decision to become an active member of ISA an easy one. Recalling an early phone call to ask about joining ISA, he laughed remembering the answer to his asking, “What can I do?” which was “anything you want.”

“Three-and-a-half years ago I was looking for something positive to do,” Murken said. “I read about ISA and thought ‘these people sound really positive and sound really good, and I like their structure.’ I read about the Experience Class so I called up ISA and I said I want to join.”

Murken said by participating in ISA programs, trials and research, he feels he’s able to pay it forward, and at the same time bring value to his family farming operation.

“I really feel like I’m helping and I’m contributing something, like with this test plot this year,” Murken says.

The Story County farmer has become a familiar face to ISA staff, whether by working with ISA agronomists or telling the story of the Iowa soybean farmer through his work with the ISA Communications Squad. Murken says he enjoys the positivity of the organization.

“The knowledge that is shared is not pushy knowledge, it’s ‘here, I want to help you’ knowledge,” says Murken. “No. 2, everyone at ISA is genuine. There are no fakers. Everybody is a real live human being that will call you and will respond to you. The third thing, this is a real biggie for me; you never get put on hold with five different options to push on the telephone. You talk to real life human beings when you call in, people who genuinely care.”


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