A group of people sitting at tables in a conference roo

Communications Squad participants Ethan Crow (left) and Kristin Oberbroeckling (right) work collaboratively at the first training session of 2021. (Photo Credit: Joseph L. Murphy/Iowa Soybean Association)

Soybean Farmers Named to Iowa Soybean Association Communications Squad

April 7, 2021

  Twenty-one Iowa soybean farmers have been selected to participate in the Iowa Soybean Association (ISA) Communications Squad.

They volunteer to communicate the importance of modern soybean production and agriculture to media, consumers, civic groups and classrooms and help represent ISA at special events.  Communications Squad participants meet five times throughout the year for comprehensive training sessions, industry updates and personal outreach projects.

Farmer participants are:

·         Aimee Bissell, Bedford

·         Klint Bissell, Bedford

·         Ethan Crow, Marshalltown

·         Marty Danzer, Carroll

·         Jeff Frank, Auburn

·         James Hepp, Rockwell City

·         Paige Hepp, Rockwell City

·         Morey Hill, Madrid

·         Jeff Jorgenson, Sidney

·         Rick Juchems, Plainfield

·         Kevin McGrain, Hornick

·         Randy Miller, Lacona

·         Pat Murken, Story City

·         Laura Myrtue, Smithland

·         Kristin Oberbroeckling, Garnavillo

·         Brent Renner, Klemme

·         Lori Ryner, Winterset

·         Pat Swanson, Ottumwa

·         Tarin Tiefenthaler, Carroll

·         Tom Vincent, Perry

·         Chuck White, Spencer

“Farmer communication is the most powerful way I can think of to connect with consumers about what farmers do,” says Murken, a second-year program participant. “The Communications Squad has helped me go beyond my comfort zone and become more familiar with social media and other technologies we can use to reach non-ag audiences.”Each participant chooses one of three areas of additional focus and training: social media, writing and spokesperson (media) opportunities. The group kicked off the program year in February and met for task force training days in March where they created communications projects to work on throughout the year. Additional training sessions will be held in June, July and August.

               Throughout the year, Participants network with communications professionals and reporters and receive top-line industry updates from ISA staff . Outreach projects created by participants range from launching Instagram accounts and YouTube channels to authoring children’s books and hosting farm tours.

                “Communication is a very positive thing for me and my farm,” added Murken, who started a YouTube channel after training sessions in March. “I enjoy hearing feedback from people in my community and sharing my farming story with younger audiences. It’s important for farmers to get in front of people and do these kinds of things.”

                The Communications Squad also engages with staff and leadership of Landus, Key Cooperative and Corteva.

                For more information about the Communications Squad, including photos and videos from training sessions, visit the membership programs page at iasoybeans.com. To contact a farmer participant for an outreach opportunity, contact ISA public relations manager Katie James at kjames@iasoybeans.com.


Tarin Tiefenthaler of Carroll participates in a breakout group with the social media task force.

Pat Murken of Story City engages with Paige Hepp of Rockwell City during the social media task force breakout session.

Klint Bissell of Bedford discusses his communications outreach plan at February's session.

Laura Myrtue of Smithland participates in the discussion on personal outreach projects during the February meeting.

ISA public relations manager Katie James leads the Communications Squad during the February meeting.

Kevin McGrain of Hornick listens during communications training.

Paige Hepp (left) engages with her husband James (right) on effectively communicating about agriculture using shared values.

Roxi Beck of Look East Communications leads a training session on utilizing shared values as a way to better share the story of agriculture.

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.