Nearly 65 people attended "Shake the Lake" for the dist

Brent Swart, District 1 director was able to network with several ISA farmer-members during the District 1 meeting held in Okoboji. (Photo credits: Kriss Nelson/Iowa Soybean Association).

Shake the Lake

June 30, 2022 | Kriss Nelson

Sixty-five Iowa Soybean Association (ISA) farmer-members, board members, staff and industry professionals set sail last month on Lake Okoboji for the ISA District 1 summer meeting.

It was his first time attending a district meeting for farmer-member Mike Ver Steeg from Inwood.

“It was a great night out with my wife on the lake,” he says. “Food was good, and the company was good.”

Ver Steeg networked with other producers and connected with TJ Kartes with Sadllebutte Ag, who presented about cover crops at the meeting.

Although Kartes is located in Minnesota, he has several cover crop seed suppliers in Iowa.

Three ISA board members attended the “Shake the Lake” event, including Steph Essick, ISA at-large director from Dickens in Clay County, and ISA District 1 Directors Chuck White and Brent Swart from Spencer.

Essick appreciates the opportunity to speak with farmers at the annual event.

“It’s important to have district meetings to hear what farmers are concerned about and what is top of mind for them right now,” says Essick.

Essick also serves on the board of directors for the American Soybean Association. A high priority is the upcoming farm bill.

“The American Soybean Association wants to be on top of it,” says Essick. “We can be a go-to when they start making final decisions for the farm bill. We need to hear what farmers want in the farm bill for a safety net, trade or conservation. We are trying to make priorities of what farmers want.”

White shared the importance of high oleic soybeans’ role in the soybean industry. Companies such as Goodyear Tires and even Sketchers tennis shoes, for example, rely on soybean oil to manufacture their products.

“I would highly recommend producers interested in high oleic soybeans start raising them,” White says. “All of my acres this year are high oleic soybeans.”

White is also a member of the Soy Aquaculture Alliance, which works to expand the uses of U.S.-grown soybeans in aquaculture diets.

“It is a huge industry coming on and a good way to market our soybeans,” he says.

Swart recently spent time in Washington, D.C., where biofuels were a hot topic.

“We spent a lot of time discussing biofuels and sustainable aviation fuels,” Swart says. “We want to drive demand and ensure we can produce enough soybeans to continue that drive forward.”

The focus is ensuring soybeans are the preferred feedstock for biofuels, Swart says.

“If biofuels continue to grow like we think they will, with government policy and people wanting a greener form of energy, we can be that supplemental fuel and provide the main feedstock (soybeans) and provide that demand going forward,” he says.

Swart also shared concerns looking to 2023.

“Input costs are going to be a big deal,” he says. “The fertilizer industry has a lot of control over that right now.”

Swart explained to the group that ISA’s executive team and leaders have begun discussions with executives within the fertilizer industry.

“We have a lot of work to do,” he says. “When we think about a company like Mosaic, they control 90% of the market share in the U.S. That is an issue. We want to hear from you guys about how we can move forward with them and get these input costs under control.”

A recent topic concerning Swart is the Climate Disclosure Rule proposed by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).

“The rule required both public and private businesses to report their carbon intensity, or carbon accounting for their operation,” he says. “We see this as a big problem for farmers. It could add costs to your farm and make things difficult. This is very close to becoming a reality. If you get your local representative's or state senator's ear, please talk to them about this.”

District meetings series

Join your fellow farmers and hear from ISA staff and board members about what’s happening in the soybean industry. There are still plenty of opportunities to attend an ISA district meeting.

District 2: July 26, 6 p.m. at S&B Farms Distillery in Bancroft. There will be a distillery tour and tasting, dinner, and a short program.

District 3: Aug. 8, 6 p.m. at the Hurling Hatchet in Cedar Falls. There will be ax throwing, dinner, and a short program.

District 4: July 27, tour at 3 p.m. at Western Iowa Energy in Wall Lake with a short program and dinner following at the Wall Lake Community Center at 5 p.m.

District 5: Aug. 17, 4 p.m. at the Iowa State Fair. There will be a short program along with ice cream sundaes. Tickets and meal vouchers are provided to attendees.

District 8: July 23, 6 p.m. at the Union County Fairgrounds in Afton. Dinner and meeting at 6 p.m., followed by a tractor pull at 7 p.m.

District 9: July 19, 11 a.m., Keokuk. Visit Lock 19 in Keokuk for a lock and dam tour at 11 a.m., followed by lunch and a short program.

RSVP here for the district meetings you plan to attend. Contact the producer services team for more information about the 2022 district meetings.