Communications Squad

The Communications Squad is a value-added ISA program for farmer members looking to accurately share the story of modern agriculture. The squad meets four to five times per year to receive timely information on the biggest topics in agriculture from in-house and external industry experts. 

Interested in participating in the Communications Squad? Fill out the application.

The 2022 Communications Squad will allow for a strengths-based approach for farmers with interests outside of media interviews. Three specialized task forces will achieve various objectives related to verbal communication, writing and social media. 

Spokesperson Task Force

Participants will focus on strengthening verbal communication skills to better tell the story of modern agriculture by:

  • Completing mock interview questions
  • Creating strategies for spokesperson scenarios (audio, visual, stories)
  • Learning to communicate the importance of soy-based products
  • Establishing credibility with media
  • Working effectively with media

The spokesperson task force will now incorporate consumer focused, soy-centric engagement
opportunities for squad members to be actively involved in ag education, including:

  • Soy education visits (classrooms, programs, etc.)
  • Hosting farm field trips
Writing Task Force

Writing is an essential and impactful communication skill to master. Participants of the writing task force will learn how to effectively tell the stories of agriculture topics by:

  • Identifying audience types
  • Practicing different writing styles (letters to the editor, blogs, etc.)
  • Incorporating ag-related keywords
  • Understanding what’s “newsworthy”
  • Mock pitching media stories
Social Media Task Force

Social media has quickly become one of the fastest ways to reach an audience. Participants of this task force will become better online advocates for agriculture by:

  • Practicing how to create ag-related content and responses online
  • Identifying tone and writing styles across social media
  • Learning the various social platforms (as needed)

Media and communications training combined with group exercises meant to foster collaboration and networking means you walk away with new skills and new contacts with fellow farmers. Expect to be called upon to be a voice and advocate for policy matters, consumer misconceptions and agriculture as a whole.

"It's great training for learning 'how' to tell the story of farming and to learn the skills to apply to those business, media or personal conversations.” — Tarin Tiefenthaler, 2021 ISA Communications Squad participant

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A candid photo of the inaugural Communications Squad, taken September of 2018. From left: Rob Stout, Tom Adam, Jim Fitkin, Dave Struthers, Randy Souder, April Hemmes, Bill Shipley, Lindsay Greiner and Dave Walton.

Pat Murken and Tarin Tiefenthaler collaborate at a 2020 meeting.

Participants Keith Lovrien (left) and Rick Juchems network with Kelly Visser, ISA's Ag Awareness Manager during a 2020 meeting.

The 2019 Communications Squad hears from a panel of farmers well-versed in media interviews.

From left: Dwight Dial, Randy Souder and Bill Shipley listen attentively at a 2019 Communications Squad meeting.

Communications Squad participants lead in a discussion during a 2019 meeting.

Ethan Crow (standing) addresses the Communications Squad during a 2019 meeting featuring Greg Peterson of the Peterson Farm Bros.

Participants volunteer for the Iowa Food & Family Project exhibit at the 2019 Iowa State Fair. From left: Tom Adam, Jim Fitkin, Randy Souder, Val Plagge, Mark Jackson, Aimee Bissell, Klint Bissell, Rob Stout and ISA Public Relations Manager Katie James

Pat Swanson hosts Reuters for an interview about trade at her farm just outside of Ottumwa, Iowa

Morey Hill hosts Iowa Public Television in his home to discuss soy protein.

Four Communications Squad participants lead a panel for the Iowa Family and Consumer Science Educators Conference. From left: Ethan Crow, Dave Struthers, Brent Swart, Tim Bardole

Robb Ewoldt hosts a reporter from Singapore on his farm in 2019 to discuss trade.