Jeff Jorgenson uses ISA research to improve decision ma

The Research Center for Farming Innovation (RCFI) is offering two webinars in March 9 and 11. Jeff Jorgenson, ISA president, says the work that he has done with RCFI has improved agronomic decisions on his farm. (Photo: Joseph L. Murphy/Iowa Soybean Association)

Studio spotlights ISA research, program offerings

February 11, 2021 | Heather Lilienthal

The Iowa Soybean Association (ISA) “took over” the WHO Radio Big Show on Feb. 11, highlighting specific examples of how the association’s Research Center for Farming Innovation (RCFI) is working with farmers and promoting farmer webinars on Mar. 9 and 11.

To listen to the recorded broadcast, go to The Big Show | iHeartRadio and click on the Feb. 10 show.

Research and results

The RCFI’s mission is to increase production, profitability, and sustainability on the farm. ISA President and Sidney-area farmer Jeff Jorgenson said Iowa soybean farmers can find ways to strengthen their bottom lines with ISA-led, unbiased, on-farm research. It’s something that worked for him.

“We worked with ISA on a population trial on soybeans as we were having trouble with (soybean) lodging on my farm,” said Jorgenson as he talked with Big Show Host Bob Quinn. “We wanted to see how low we could get the population to go. Less seed cost is what happened for me.”

He’s looking forward to the webinars being offered by ISA next month.

“We’ve done this (share research information and results) differently over the years, and offering it through a webinar is a good way to get this information out to farmers easily and quickly,” he explained.

This year, the RCFI is offering two webinars. While any farmer is welcome to participate in one or both, they are geared to specific audiences.

The first webinar, offered Mar. 9 from 8-9 a.m., focuses on introducing the center to new and interested farmers and explaining how to get involved with ISA research opportunities. Topics will include regional research priorities, current results, and steps to get connected.

The second webinar, offered Mar. 11 from 8-9 a.m., is geared to current farmer participants, providing key takeaways from recent work studying enhanced nutrient and cover crop management and how a cropping systems approach leads to increased productivity and profitability.

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By farmers, for farmers

According to RCFI Director Roger Wolf, the results from on-farm and farmer-led research are key.

“Results. It’s our special sauce,” Wolf explained to Quinn during the broadcast. “We like to make sure that folks know that the Research Center for Farming Innovation is created by farmers, for farmers. Our mission is all about productivity, profitability, and sustainability on farms.”

He added that the center’s roadmap approach takes a holistic look at the state and allows RCFI staff to identify trends associated with farming practices and then dig down to a local approach.
“This research needs to bring localized data for farmers to have confidence in the practices they are using and focus on impacting the bottom line,” he said.

Aimee Bissell farms with her husband and sons in Bedford. She and her husband also serve on the RCFI advisory council. After attending a meeting a couple of years ago, the couple learned about replicated strip trials with ISA.

“We’ve conducted several strip trials with ISA. We had a farm with some problem areas that we couldn’t figure out. For three years, we worked with ISA to learn more and what we learned greatly impacted our bottom line. By figuring out the problem and combatting it, we raised yields on that farm.”

She said the process to get started is easy.

“We contacted ISA and connected with our area agronomist who laid out a procedure for a strip trial,” said Bissell. “After harvest, we sent in our data, it was analyzed and we received a 4-6 page report. We could see how big an impact it made on our acres.”

“ISA is a good fit for our operation,” she added. “ISA is driven to deliver…that is their mission and that is the experience you’ll get.”

Farmers can register for one or both webinars.

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