Greg Northrup

Greg Northrup (Photo: Verbio)

Plan to attend ISA’s Farm Forward conference

January 4, 2024 | Kriss Nelson

To help put some insight into global and domestic market trends and their impact on a farmer's return on investments for 2024 and beyond, the Iowa Soybean Association (ISA) is hosting a "Farm Forward"  conference on Jan. 30 in Des Moines. 

Matt Herman, ISA chief officer of demand and advocacy, will join Greg Northrup, president of Verbio NA Holdings Corp and Doug Struyk, an attorney with Carney and Appleby Law, for a panel discussion about what the future means for biofuels and the state and federal issues that could stand in the way. 

“We will sum up what has happened in history, how we got where we are today, where these programs may be going in the future, and what that means for a potential change in commodity demand – not only for corn and soybeans but for residues and even cover crops to be used for energy,” says Herman.  

ISA has been working with Verbio, Iowa State University and other partners to determine the economic and environmental return for farmers who remove corn stover for conversion to renewable natural gas by Verbio.

Verbio has produced renewable natural gas at its Nevada biorefinery since December of 2021. Using corn stover as the feedstock, they are the only plant producing renewable natural gas on an industrial scale making 7 million gallons annually. 

A part of the discussion during the panel at the Farm Forward conference will revolve around the potential of using cover crops as part of their feedstock for renewable natural gas.

“The industry is in the revolutionary stage and we are still learning how to maximize our investments and will hopefully be very successful not only for a company like ours, but for growers who can participate in the development of this industry in the long term,” says Northrup. 

It could be an opportunity for Iowa farmers, Herman says.

“How could anaerobic digestion be extended beyond corn stover to feedstocks like cover crops grown before soybeans? We believe there could be a large market opportunity to convert these cover crops into energy, all while adding value to a farmer’s bottom line and generating significant environmental benefits,” says Herman.

Farm Forward Conference agenda

The event will be held from 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Des Moines Marriott Downtown, 700 Grand Ave.

Frank Kelly, founder and managing partner of Fulcrum Macro Advisers, LLC will be the keynote speaker presenting on global changes impacting U.S. ag exports.

The future of soybean breeding, farm income and market outlook and a discussion with ISA leadership on how checkoff dollars are driving soy demand cutting-edge research are also on the agenda for the event.

Farm policy is also front and center on the Farm Forward agenda. The event concludes with an   ISA Legislative Reception at 5:30 p.m.

Register for the event here. Attendees will also receive a ticket to the Iowa Ag Expo on Jan. 31 in Des Moines.

For more information, contact Bre Wagner, ISA Producer Services manager at 515-669-7963 or