The Iowa Soybean Association held its annual leadership conference and annual meeting December 13-14 in Ames. The meeting focused on issues related to the upcoming 2008 session of the Iowa Legislature, which begins in January.
New areas of policy discussed involve trying to get Iowa to shift from a low-blend biodiesel strategy to one that promotes higher blends of biodiesel, such as B5, B10 and B20. ISA wants to increase the use of biodiesel in the state. The annual meeting also resulted in resolutions supporting an effort to increase research at Iowa State University--research focused on soybeans. The biodiesel and research resolutions will be policy priorities for ISA in 2008, says Curt Sindergard, president of ISA and a farmer from Rolfe in northwest Iowa.
Topics discussed at the annual meeting included biodiesel, the farm bill, updates from industry leaders and production agriculture.
Iowa's first Ag Urban Leadership Initiative Class
ISA's 2008 marketing theme, "All in a Day's Work" will play out through Iowa's crop districts during the year as district meetings focus on meeting information needs of Iowa soybean growers. The media campaign, complete with calendars featuring Iowa soybean farmers at work, also offers a chance for those attending district meetings to win one of nine Polaris four-wheelers – one in each district.
Thursday evening's reception and banquet featured the activities of ISA's first Ag Urban Leadership Initiative class. Following an "All Iowa" meal, attendees heard from AU Initiative sponsors and participants about their experience. Des Moines Attorney Doug Gross capped the evening with a specific challenge to all leaders in the audience in regard to the opportunities that must be pursued if Iowa is to take advantage of high crop prices and this current window of economic growth.
Awards for ISA county membership activity were presented. Palo Alto County got the award for general activity and Bremer County received honorable mention. Clinton County received the award for the most ISA membership growth, with Van Buren County receiving honorable mention.
Jerome Burke of Clinton County received an award for top recruiter points. Earl Brandt of Bremer received an award for the most members recruited. The top district was District 3, which includes Howard, Chickasaw, Bremer, Black Hawk, Buchanan, Fayette, Winneshiek, Allamakee, Clayton, Delaware and Dubuque counties. The grand prize for the Travel to Treasure promotion was awarded Thursday. Charles and Wilda Albrecht of Readlyn won a trip to Hawaii, qualifying to win the trip by attending more than 10 Travel to Treasure events in 2007.