(Photo: Bank Iowa)
Remembering a friend
January 25, 2024 | Kriss Nelson
More than a leader within the soybean industry, Roger Carlson is also being remembered as a friend.
Roger, age 70, of Red Oak passed away on Jan. 16 at the Montgomery County Memorial Hospital.
Yvonne Wente, of Waverly, served with Roger on the Iowa Soybean Promotion Board in various capacities as a co-board member and on the board’s executive committee.
“He would take charge, get things done and make things happen,” Wente says. “But most of all, he had this amazing, welcoming smile that immediately drew you in.”
Farming was Roger’s passion, serving in a variety of farming and commodity groups, including as an Iowa Soybean Association (ISA) member, Montgomery County Soybean Association board member, serving the Iowa Soybean Promotion Board for District 7, and vice chairman and chairman in 1994 and 1995; and the Iowa Soybean Promotion Board research committee . He was the first chairman of the North Central Soybean Research Production Board.
Former ISA president Ray Gaesser and his wife Elaine developed a close friendship with Roger and his wife Kathy while serving together on the Iowa Soybean Promotion Board.
It’s a friendship that’s lasted more than 30 years.
“He was a great friend, fun to be with and very knowledgeable,” Gaesser says. “It was because of Roger’s encouragement and knowledge about the board and the soybean industry that I ran for Iowa Soybean Promotion Board District 7 director.” Ray would go on to work in executive roles for both the Iowa Soybean Association and the American Soybean Association.
They were friends and confidants, Gaesser says.
“We would share what was going on with our farms, comparing notes and ideas.”
He was a true leader, Wente says.
“He was very respectful of other people’s opinions; he would listen to you,” Wente says. “In whatever capacity of his service on the Iowa Soybean Promotion Board, he was always extremely prepared and knowledgeable on all areas important to soybean farmers. He was very insightful and I learned much from him.”
Caring for the next generation
Wente says agriculture was important to Roger, and he was passionate about helping his fellow farmers.
“He served to help any farmer and continued to do so after all of these years – especially young farmers to help widen their knowledge base and improve their operation,” she says. “He was very proud of his agricultural life and working with his family. Roger and Kathy are successful farmers, and he was willing to share his road to success.”
This sort of help was something Wente was looking forward to this spring.
“It is so meaningful to me,” she says. “I had visited with Roger about our son taking over our operation, and he offered to come this spring and meet with us and give us some ideas. After all these years, he still wanted to help you as a friend and help our son as a next-generation farmer.”
Even after his term on the Iowa Soybean Promotion Board ended, Roger remained active, often reaching out to current ISA board members, including past ISA president Jeff Jorgenson from Sidney.
“He always kept himself in the forefront of agriculture and acknowledged the importance of biofuels in both commodities,” says Jorgenson. “As part of the checkoff team, you are always locked into working to make things better for all farmers and he held onto that. He was a dynamic forward thinker, worked hard, did a lot of things right and was a good farmer.”
Roger’s focus was to ensure investments being made would benefit Iowa soybean farmers.
“He wanted to make a difference,” Gaesser says. “He believed there was a need and a responsibility to give back. It was important to him to care for his land, family and community.”
See Roger’s full obituary and leave your condolences for the family here.