Seven ISA leadership award winners

The 2024 ISA Leadership Award recipients: (left to right) Lisa Obrecht (Zearing); Blake Van Der Kamp (Ames); Jeff Jorgenson (Sidney); Darcy Maulsby; Robb Ewoldt (Davenport); Sen. Dan Zumbach (Delaware County); and Jim O'Connell (Cedar Rapids). Not pictured: Wayne Fredericks (Osage). (Photo: Joseph Hopper/Iowa Soybean Association)

Ag Leaders Recognized for Service to Iowa's Soybean Industry

January 4, 2024 | Brock Johnston

Ankeny, Iowa — Leaders in agricultural innovation, policy, storytelling and more were among those touted for outstanding contributions benefiting the soybean industry. The recognition was given in eight categories by the Iowa Soybean Association (ISA) during its annual awards luncheon and ceremony held Dec. 19 in Ankeny.

“Many people are driven to deliver for Iowa’s soybean farmers,” said Suzanne Shirbroun, ISA president and soybean farmer from Farmersburg. “We extend our congratulations and appreciation for the meaningful contributions of this year’s award recipients to our industry. Their achievements make this an even more exciting time to be a soybean farmer.”

Whether a lifelong soybean farmer, innovator in production, or a champion for fellow producers, the 2024 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): Wayne Fredericks, a soybean farmer and former ISA president from Osage, has advanced the goals of the association through his longstanding commitment to enhance the soybean industry.

Rising Star Award (presented by Farm Credit Services of America): Blake Van Der Kamp, an Iowa State University student, actively promotes Iowa agriculture and plans to remain involved in the industry through future personal or professional endeavors. This award includes a $2,000 stipend for educational expenses.

New Leader Award (presented by Corteva Agriscience): Lisa Obrecht, a soybean farmer from Zearing, continues to deepen her involvement in ISA programming while growing her commitment to the industry and her local community.

Environmental Leader Award (presented by Agri Drain): Jim O’Connell, a soybean producer from Cedar Rapids, is a leader in integrating sustainable practices on his acres. Through his work with ISA’s Research Center for Farming Innovation, Jim has implemented unique strategies to improve soil health and enhance water quality.

Innovator in Production Research Award (presented by John Deere): Robb Ewoldt, a soybean farmer and former ISA president from Davenport, 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): Sen. Dan Zumbach, a state legislator and Delaware County farmer, has shown a deep understanding of agricultural issues and steadfast supporter of Iowa’s soybean producers. His unique perspective and distinguished career in public service has helped expand access to higher blends of biodiesel and ethanol across the state and further advanced Iowa’s agricultural economy.

Advocate for Iowa Agriculture Award (presented by Bayer Cropscience): Darcy Maulsby, who has become known as, “Iowa’s Storyteller”, has helped connect Iowa farmers and consumers through her unique ability to communicate about the state’s thriving agriculture industry. Her efforts have exposed a wide audience to the impact of agriculture in daily life, as well as the challenges and successes of Iowa farmers.

Policy Champion Award (presented by Champion Seed): Jeff Jorgenson, a soybean farmer and former ISA president from Sidney, has been a lifelong advocate for policies and regulatory matters benefiting producers and the industry. His relationship building with elected officials and collaborative spirit showcase a dedication to advocacy at the local, state and national levels.

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

Learn more about this year’s recipients here.

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.