A group of people stand on the steps of the Iowa capito

The 2020 Experience Class toured Iowa's capitol building in Des Moines last August. The 2021 class met virtually in February to kick off the new program year. (Photo Credit: Joseph L. Murphy/Iowa Soybean Association)

Experience Class Showcases Iowa Soybean Association to Farmers, Industry Leaders

March 9, 2021

The 2021 Iowa Soybean Association (ISA) Experience Class met Feb. 25 to kick off a year of witnessing the “behind the scenes” of ISA.

The value-added program for ISA farmer members and industry partners allows participants to take a deep dive into ISA’s four program areas: supply, demand, information and education and policy.

“I had no idea of all the different organizations ISA plays a role in and the differences between checkoff and non-checkoff activities,” says Jacob Bolson who farms near Eldora and works full time for John Deere. “I’m a specialty crop farmer so getting to see a big-picture view of the supply chain was very fascinating.”

The 2021 Experience Class participants are:

  • Jacob Bolson, Hubbard
  • Jake Brown, Graettinger
  • Matt Brummett, Neola
  • Rex Hoppes, Van Meter
  • Ethan Lambert, Dows
  • Gary Langbein, Sac City
  • Charlie McKenna, Ames
  • Josh Phelps, Swisher
  • Marc Schneider, Dewitt
  • Jeff Weber, Richland

“This program was created to provide an inside look to all things ISA,” says Bre Wagner, ISA producer services coordinator. “Not only do participants get to familiarize themselves with ISA and our efforts to support soybean farmers, but it’s also a great networking opportunity for them to learn from one another while connecting with ISA staff and sponsors.”

The group’s first meeting provided an overview of checkoff and non-checkoff revenue and a chance to hear from farmer leaders and staff within the American Soybean Association, United Soybean Board, U.S. Soybean Export Council, National Biodiesel Board and the Soy Transportation Coalition.

With the support of Bunge, Renewable Energy Group and Beck’s Hybrids, the Experience Class will convene four more times this year. Participants will tour a soy conditioning facility, observe an ISA board meeting, visit the Iowa Capitol to see ISA’s policy efforts in action and tour a lock and dam on the Mississippi River while discussing soybean demand and transportation.

“The biggest thing is just the opportunity to peel back the onion and look at what all is going on behind the scenes of the global soybean system,” adds Bolson. “It’s a valuable opportunity to see how a commodity group works up close.”

For more information about the Experience Class and other opportunities to get involved with ISA, visit www.iasoybeans.com/membership/programs.

The Iowa Soybean Association (www.iasoybeans.com) 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.