Photo Credit: Joclyn Bushman/Iowa Soybean Association

ISA President Robb Ewoldt, a soybean farmer near Davenport, addresses award recipients and sponsors at ISA's annual Winter Soy Summit. (Photo Credit: Joclyn Bushman/Iowa Soybean Association)

Outstanding Achievement on Behalf of Soy Industry Recognized

January 27, 2022 | Brock Johnston

Ankeny, Iowa — A must-attend summer event, a dedicated farm and food broadcaster and a first-generation farmer were among those touted for outstanding achievement benefiting the soy industry. The recognition was given in eight categories by the Iowa Soybean Association (ISA) during its annual Winter Soy Summit held Jan. 25 in Des Moines. 

“Many people are driven to deliver for Iowa soybean farmers,” said ISA President Robb Ewoldt of Davenport. “It’s critical to recognize these meaningful contributions and celebrate an industry that continues to be a positive force for our state and country.” 

Whether a lifelong soybean farmer, innovator in production, or a champion for fellow farmers, the 2022 ISA Leadership Award recipients have demonstrated a passion for the future of soy. Award categories, sponsors and recipients were: 

Legacy of Leadership Award (presented by Stine Seed): Rolland Schnell, a soybean farmer and past ISA president from Newton, has advanced the goals of the association through his longstanding commitment to enhance the industry.  

Rising Star Award (presented by Farm Credit Services of America): Nathan Behrends, an Iowa State University student from Wiota, actively promotes Iowa agriculture and plans to remain involved in the industry through future personal and professional endeavors. The award includes a $1,000 stipend for educational expenses. 

New Leader Award (presented by Corteva Agriscience): James Hepp, a soybean farmer from Rockwell City, continues to deepen his involvement in ISA programming while growing his commitment of service to the industry and his local community.  

Environmental Leader Award (presented by Agri-Drain): Michael Vittetoe, a soybean producer from Washington, is a leader in integrating sustainable practices on his multi-generational operation. Through his work with ISA’s Research Center for Farming Innovation (RCFI), Michael has implemented unique strategies to improve soil health and enhance water quality.  

Innovator in Production Research Award (presented by John Deere): Kevin Prevo, a soybean farmer from Bloomfield, highlights the role precision agriculture plays in managing practices to improve farm profitability. His experiences have allowed ISA to continue finding new opportunities for farmers to implement cutting edge approaches.  

Friend of the Iowa Soybean Farmer Award (presented by Cargill): Andy Petersen, cohost of WHO Radio’s “The Big Show”, continues to play an important part in the agricultural reporting space. His support of both the soybean industry and agriculture has connected more consumers and producers to ISA messages, events and programming.  

Advocate for Iowa Agriculture Award (presented by Bayer Cropscience): Presented to the Iowa State Fair. The annual event is nationally recognized and a staple of Iowa summers since it began in 1854. The fair highlights the hard work, strength and dedication of Iowa’s agriculture community and gives visitors a firsthand look at agriculture’s role in their everyday lives.  

Policy Champion Award (presented by Champion Seed): Wayne Fredericks, a soybean farmer and past ISA president from Osage, has been a lifelong advocate on behalf of  producers across the state. His relationship building with elected officials and collaborative spirit showcase a dedication to advocacy on the local, state and national levels.  

“This year’s crop of award recipients are valued voices to our industry,” said Ewoldt. “We look forward to the many contributions they will continue to make benefiting soybean farmers.”

Learn more about this year's recipients here.


Funded by the soybean checkoff

The Iowa Soybean Association ( is “Driven To Deliver” increased soybean demand through market development and new uses, farmer-focused research and results, timely information and know-how and policy initiatives enabling farmers and the industry to flourish. Founded in 1964 by farmers to serve farmers, ISA is governed by a board of 22 farmers to advocate on behalf of the state’s 40,000 soybean producers, including more than 15,000 ISA farmer members and industry stakeholders.