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February 2019




Whether shipping by river, road or rail, the soy checkoff is committed to ensuring America’s infrastructure is a significant advantage for U.S. soybean farmers. We’re looking inside the bean, beyond the bushel and around the world to keep preference for U.S. soy strong. And it’s helping make a valuable impact for soybean farmers like you. See more ways the soy checkoff is maximizing profit opportunities for soybean farmers at unitedsoybean.org

Brought to you by the soy checkoff. ©2018 United Soybean Board. Our Soy Checkoff and the Our Soy Checkoff mark are trademarks of United Soybean Board. All other trademarks are property of their respective owners.

President Lindsay Greiner, Keota | At Large President Elect Tim Bardole, Rippey | At Large Treasurer Robb Ewoldt, Blue Grass | D6

February 2019 | Vol. 31, No. 5

Secretary Dave Walton, Wilton | D6 Executive Committee Randy Miller, Lacona | D8 Board of Directors Brent Swart, Spencer | D1 Chuck White, Spencer | D1 April Hemmes, Hampton | D2 Casey Schlichting, Clear Lake | D2 Rick Juchems, Plainfield | D3 Suzanne Shirbroun, Farmersburg | D3 LaVerne Arndt, Sac City | D4 Jeff Frank, Auburn | D4 Rolland Schnell, Newton | D5 Morey Hill, Madrid | D5 Bill Shipley, Nodaway | D7 Jeff Jorgenson, Sidney | D7 Warren Bachman, Osceola | D8 Pat Swanson, Ottumwa | D9 Tom Adam, Harper | D9 Brent Renner, Klemme | At Large Stephanie Essick, Dickens | At Large American Soybean Association Board of Directors Morey Hill, Madrid Wayne Fredericks, Osage Brian Kemp, Sibley John Heisdorffer, Keota Dean Coleman, Humboldt United Soybean Board of Directors Delbert Christensen, Audubon Larry Marek, Riverside Tom Oswald, Cleghorn April Hemmes, Hampton Staff Credits Editor | Ann Clinton Communications Director | Aaron Putze, APR Senior Creative Manager | Ashton Boles Photographer | Joseph L. Murphy Staff Writer | Matthew Wilde Staff Writer | Carol Brown Staff Writer | Lauren Houska Staff Writer | Katie Johnson Sales Director | David Larson

12 Cultivating


Soybean checkoff dollars fund research to build demand.

16 Soy Solutions Soybean wax has exponential potential.

22 Food Label Fatigue Consumer survey shows Iowans find food labels misleading.

24 Sensor-ing a Change New uses in precision agriculture.

On the Cover: Francisco Leyva-Gutierrez, a graduate Iowa Soybean Review is published eight times a year by: Iowa Soybean Association 1255 SW Prairie Trail Parkway, Ankeny, Iowa 50023 (515) 251-8640 | iasoybeans.com E-mail: aclinton@iasoybeans.com

assistant in research for the Food Science and Human

For advertising information in the Iowa Soybean Review, please contact Larson Ent. LLC (515) 440-2810 or Dave@LarsonentLLC.com.

and others to find ways to utilize high-oleic soybean oil

Comments and statewide news articles should be sent to the above address. Advertising space reservations must be made by the first day of the month preceding publication. In consideration of the acceptance of the advertisement, the agency and the advertiser must, in respect of the contents of the advertisement, indemnify and save the publisher harmless against any expense arising from claims or actions against the publisher because of the publication of the content of the advertisement.

Nutrition department at Iowa State University (ISU), performs a test while researching new uses for soybean oil. Leyva-Gutierrez works with ISU professor Tong Wang in new wax products and other applications. (Photo illustration.)


Kirk Leeds Chief Executive Officer, Iowa Soybean Association kleeds@iasoybeans.com, Twitter@kirkleeds

What to do with all of these soybeans?


uilding demand for U.S. soybeans has been a critical goal of the soybean checkoff program since its inception nearly 50 years ago. When the checkoff program in Iowa began in 1971, total production of soybeans in the U.S. was just over 1.2 billion bushels and the average national yield was around 27-29 bushels per acre. Soybeans were processed mostly for domestic use (vegetable oil and livestock feed), although efforts were underway to increase exports as production begin to exceed consumption in the U.S. Due to the investments from state soybean checkoff programs and an increased partnership with U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) export assistance programs, soybean exports began to expand rapidly in the 70s. In fact, in 1979 soybeans became the No. 1 export crop by value in the U.S., a position we have maintained ever since. By 1978, the U.S. exported more soybeans than we had produced in 1967.


The growth in global consumption and production of soybeans has continued to skyrocket. The U.S. just harvested 4.6 billion bushels — a number that was likely unimaginable to the farmers who created the soybean checkoff in Iowa so many years ago. In addition to the need to increase exports, one of the key reasons a national checkoff program was created in 1991 was to dramatically increase investments in finding new uses for soybeans and soybean products. Farmers understood that while the global demand for vegetable oil and soybean meal was going to continue to grow, they also knew that with ever-emerging technologies, farmers would continue to produce more soybeans in the U.S. and in other countries around the globe. Checkoff dollars have been used to launch the biodiesel industry and to develop and test new soy-based lubricants, paints and plastics, to name just a few. This issue of the Iowa Soybean Review is focused on

some of these new uses and how soybean checkoff dollars are being used to develop and support these new products. Another key growth opportunity for soybean farmers is in aquaculture. As new regulations, over fishing and increased demand for sustainable and plentiful protein cross the globe, farmer aquaculture is finding a foothold. By 2030, it’s estimated fish production will need to increase by 44 percent to meet demand. Today, 40 percent of the global population relies on fish as their primary protein, and in the U.S. nearly 90 percent of our seafood is imported. Soybeans bring a nutritional feed source that meets the needs of the aquaculture industry while creating significant new demand for Iowa and U.S. soybeans. With a record carry-over of soybeans, the need for marketbuilding activities funded by the soybean checkoff is more critical than ever before. Developing new uses for soybeans will remain an essential strategy.



From promoting the profitability of using high-quality soybean meal in India to training animal producers on nutrition in Colombia, the soy checkoff is working behind the scenes to develop more market opportunities for U.S. soy. We’re looking inside the bean, beyond the bushel and around the world to keep preference for U.S. soy strong. And it’s helping make a valuable impact for soybean farmers like you. See more ways the soy checkoff is maximizing profit opportunities for soybean farmers at unitedsoybean.org

Brought to you by the soy checkoff. ©2018 United Soybean Board. Our Soy Checkoff and the Our Soy Checkoff mark are trademarks of United Soybean Board. All other trademarks are property of their respective owners.

Michael Dolch Director of Public Affairs, Iowa Soybean Association MDolch@iasoybeans.com

All Politics is Local


oined by the 47th Speaker of the U.S. House, Tip O’Neill, the saying, “All politics is local,” is a well-known phrase in U.S. politics. Speaker O’Neill became politically active at the age of 15, campaigning for Al Smith’s 1928 presidential bid. Four years later, he worked on behalf of then-candidate Franklin D. Roosevelt — who went on to become the 32nd U.S. president. As a senior at Boston College, O’Neill ran unsuccessfully for a seat on the Cambridge City Council. This race, his first of many, marked his only electoral defeat. However, the campaign taught him a valuable lesson that later became a well-known quote and this column’s title. Tasked with a short presentation highlighting advocacy tips and best practices while preparing for the Iowa Soybean Association’s (ISA) District Advisory Council, or DAC Day, in January, this phrase came to mind. With Iowa’s lawmakers settling into the new legislative session and Washington, D.C., back open for business following the shutdown, there is no better


time to consider five simple tips for becoming a better local advocate. 1. Show Up. Arguably the most important, yet always the most difficult. Take advantage of the opportunities to meet your senators or representatives. Iowa’s lawmakers — both state and federal — are very accessible through office hours, town hall meetings and other opportunities. If you are unable to meet face-to-face with your member, spend time with their staff. Staff are the eyes and ears of the office and serve as a vital conduit. 2. Share a Story. If you schedule a meeting, remember that legislators love a good story — a personal connection to an issue can make all the difference. Beforehand, think about what you want to communicate, and why you want to talk about the issue. 3. Know Your Issue. Do you know the issue background, the underlying legislation, or funding mechanism tied to your concern? Answering these simple questions will help make you a reliable source. Whether you read the news

or search the internet, do your homework. This is also where ISA staff can help provide insight and perspective. 4. Talk About It. Exercising respectful political discourse, relax and talk about it. State the problem and recommend a solution. Talk about it as if you are chatting with a family member or an old friend. Legislators are people just like you and me. 5. Think/Act Locally. While Washington, D.C., is often considered the political hotbed, opportunities exist to raise awareness and prompt change closer to home. Many city council or county supervisor seats go unchallenged year after year. Often, a grassroots movement is sparked by a local issue before getting attention on the national stage. As you can see, all politics is local. I encourage you to join ISA in Des Moines and Washington, D.C., this year.





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oung leaders, long-time environmental stewards and dedicated agriculture advocates were recognized at the Iowa Soybean Association's annual awards banquet Dec. 13 in Ankeny. The seven deserving individuals were applauded for their commitment and leadership in the field of agriculture benefiting soybean farmers and the industry.

“Improving the competitiveness of Iowa’s soybean farmers depends on many dedicated volunteers and industry professionals,” says Lindsay Greiner, ISA president and a 2012 ISA New Leader award recipient. “Given that they rarely seek the limelight, it’s up to us to state our appreciation for their hard work.” The awards banquet was sponsored by ADM and Beck’s Hybrids.


Erin Chalupa, Keota The Rising Star Award, sponsored by Farm Credit Services of America, was presented to Erin Chalupa in recognition of her promotion of and passion for agriculture as a young leader.


Klint & Aimee Bissell, Bedford Klint and Aimee Bissell were presented the New Leader Award, sponsored by Corteva, for their outstanding involvement and promotion of ISA programming and the soybean industry.


Brent Larson, Fort Dodge The Environmental Leader Award, sponsored by Peoples Co., was awarded to Brent Larson in recognition of his commitment to practicing and promoting agricultural management practices that improve the environment.



Denny Friest, Radcliffe The Innovator in Production Research Award was presented to Denny Friest. Sponsored by John Deere, the award recognizes leadership in the use of production technology to discover, validate and effectively manage practices to improve efficiency, profitability and competitiveness of Iowa soybean farmers.


Kevin & Julie Van Manen, Kellogg The Advocate for Iowa Agriculture Award, sponsored by Bayer CropScience, was awarded to Kevin and Julie Van Manen in recognition of their outstanding efforts to tell the story of modern Iowa agriculture.


Joel DeJong, Le Mars The Friend of the Iowa Soybean Farmer Award, sponsored by Cargill, was presented to Joel DeJong for his support of ISA and Iowa soybean farmers through his consistent actions and efforts.


Ed Ulch, Solon The Legacy of Leadership Award, sponsored by Stine Seed Company, was awarded to Ed Ulch in recognition of his passionate and relentless commitment to growing the Iowa soybean industry.



Soybean farmers have a lot on their mind. Getting reliable, credible information is more important than ever. The State of Soy, presented by the Iowa Soybean Association is a monthly videocast for farmers, featuring timely and exclusive insights on issues that matter most. Join us in February for a conversation about policy issues impacting the State of Soy – from biofuels and water quality to the farm bill rollout.

WATCH THE LATEST EPISODE AT IASOYBEANS.COM Not funded by the soybean checkoff

Pork Congress Attendees Optimistic BY AARON PUTZE, APR

Thousands of farmers and industry leaders gathered in Des Moines January 22-24 for the Iowa Pork Congress presented by the Iowa Pork Producers Association. More than 4,500 people and nearly 300 trade show vendors participated in the 47th annual event. As expected, the conversations yielded a bountiful crop of opinions and forecasts impacting pig and soybean production. Here’s a sampling…

Market access “I’m the only independent (pig producer) remaining in the county,” says pig farmer Jim Boyer of Ringsted. The Emmet County producer also grows soybeans and corn. He says access to market opportunities for farmers like him is a challenge.

“Some of us are trying to build alliances and there’s some opportunity,” Boyer says. “But it seems more and more that you either have to get big or get out.” Boyer is experienced in the business. His career in pig production began in 1996 with 50 sows. In 1997, he constructed his first finishing unit. “You have to stay positive, but it’s getting harder to make it work as an independent,” he admits. “There’s opportunity, but you better know your stuff and network if you want to survive.”

A solid year The past year was one of growth for Iowa Select Farms (ISF) and more are expected in 2019, says Jen Sorenson, the company’s communications director.

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“Increases in pork production create an exciting opportunity for Iowa soybean farmers and benefit the state’s economic vitality,” she says. Sorenson says there’s been a corresponding uptick in the construction of new feed mills and expansion of existing production. In 2018, the Iowa Falls-based company purchased 168,000 tons of soybean meal, up from 133,000 tons in 2016. “The feed partners we do business with have grown with us,” Sorenson says. The need for additional feed production and pig spaces will depend on successfully resolving ongoing trade disputes with key U.S. customers, she says.

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CULTIVATING CROPPORTUNITIES Soybean checkoff dollars fund research to build demand BY LAUREN HOUSKA


ometimes to make money, you have to spend money. That’s why the United Soybean Board (USB) and the Iowa Soybean Association (ISA) have invested checkoff dollars in innovative research projects that yield more demand for U.S. soybeans. In turn, annual revenue has nearly quadrupled for U.S. soy farmers over the last 25 years. “Farmers are experts at producing soybeans,” says USB’s CEO Polly Ruhland. “While they take care of business on the farm, we’re taking care of business further down the supply chain, creating these so-called cropportunities.” Some are already well-known, from feed to fuel to food. Dave Walton, ISA District 6 director, says Iowa’s livestock and biodiesel industries are vital to creating demand for both oil and meal. Iowa is the leading biodieselproducing state, manufacturing about 285 million gallons each year. The


clean-burning fuel helped soybean farmers realize an average of $36 per acre in additional value from 2007 to 2015. At the same time, it helped lower the cost of soybean meal for livestock producers. “The livestock industry is our primary customer,” says Walton, who farms near Wilton. “That demand is critical to U.S. soybean farmers.” Animal agriculture consumed 31.2 million tons of soybean meal — a 1.3 billion-bushel equivalent — during the 2016/17 marketing year. Iowa livestock producers — primarily pig farmers — utilized more than 2.9 million tons of that total.

The toil over oil Although it is well-known that U.S. soybeans help power the livestock and biodiesel industries, other cropportunities work their magic behind the scenes. From shoes

to sealants and tires to tractor parts, soybeans are being put to work in more ways than ever before. “Any time the industry uses more of the soybean, farmers, companies and consumers are all in a better economic position and creating less waste,” Walton says. However, these non-food and nonbiodiesel cropportunities are harder to come by and take longer to bring to market compared to soybean meal. “The business environment around soy is constantly changing,” Ruhland says. “I cannot stress enough the importance of finding new revenue


streams for soybean oil.” Industrial, non-biodiesel use of soybean oil in the U.S. increased more than 50 percent in the last decade, according to USB. American industries consumed 127-millionbushel equivalents of soybean oil in the 2016/17 marketing year. More than 250 companies annually confirm with USB that they incorporate soy ingredients — more than 1,000 products have been verified as soy-based. Checkoff dollars have helped commercialize more than 150 soy-based products in recent years. “USB is like an incubator, helping new products get off the ground,” Walton explains. “Without the investment of soybean farmers’ checkoff dollars, it would be tough for some of these innovative ideas to come to fruition.” Following are a handful of products that are on the market and paying off:

Supporting soles According to a Georgia-based shoe company, less than 1 percent of shoes worn in the U.S. today are made in America. Okabashi, one of the remaining 2 percent of shoe manufacturers still operating

domestically, uses materials sourced in the U.S., including soybean oil. The company says soybean oil is the perfect fit because it helps the product meet all of its specifications, including softness to strength, and U.S. soybeans are abundantly available at the right price.

Sweeping the flooring industry When the U.S. Green Building Council pressured woodproduct manufacturers to reduce formaldehyde emissions, Columbia Forest Products (CFP) took a proactive approach. They attended a USB Technical Advisory Panel (TAP) meeting, adopted woodglue technology from a checkoffsupported project and converted mills to incorporate soy-based glue in the production of PureBond™ panels. They are now sold in home improvement stores for interior applications. CFP has produced and sold more than 50 million PureBond panels.

Hitting the road Each year, more products used on the road — and on the farm — are made using U.S. soybeans. Today, at least 20 pounds of soy foam is built

into each of the 3 million vehicles Ford manufactures in North America. Goodyear’s Assurance WeatherReady tire — partially made with soybean oil — is offered in a wide range of sizes, covering 77 percent of cars, minivans and SUVs on the road today. John Deere estimates they use 2 million pounds of Envirez soybased, sheet-molding compound in its HarvestForm™ tractor and combine body panels annually.

Paving the way RePLAY® Agricultural Oil Seal and Preservation Agent, a bio-based sealant that contains a minimum 61 percent soybean oil and derivatives, penetrates asphalt and helps reverse the oxidation process on or below the surface. It also helps repair surface hairline cracks. RePLAY has been used as a sealant on approximately 118,000 lane miles in Minnesota. The product uses about 100 bushels of soybeans per lane mile. RePLAY extends the life of asphalt surfaces, and reduces labor costs and road closures during application. It also eliminates the harmful fumes of petroleum products used for road maintenance. Contact Lauren Houska at lhouska@iasoybeans.com.

Jeff Frank, Iowa Soybean Association director from Auburn, fills the planter bin with seeds while planting his soybean crop last year. There are more and more valuable products being made from the soybeans grown by Iowa farmers.




Soy-based planter box lubricant could be the 'next big thing' BY MATTHEW WILDE


gray steering wheel. Dirty, stained clothes. A grayish film on electronics. And health concerns. Iowa Soybean Association (ISA) director Dave Walton no longer deals with these issues when planting. He quit using an 80/20 graphite and talc blend in his planter to keep seeds flowing and parts from wearing out. Walton now uses DUST, a soybased dry planter box lubricant sold by Low Mu Tech of Calamus. The Wilton farmer says it’s a safe, clean product with excellent lubricity that has another big advantage over competitors — it increases soybean demand. The United Soybean Board (USB) invested about $300,000 in soybean checkoff funds to determine if DUST is a viable alternative to graphite, talc


and Bayer’s polyethylene-based Fluency Agent for planters. Initial findings from lab and infield tests from four universities show the soy product works as well or better than the competition. Walton tested DUST and is sold on the product as a new use for soybeans. “We’ve been using it as a complete replacement for graphite and talc,” he says. “I don’t come home all dirty since graphite sticks to everything. It’s a soy-based product that’s 100 percent natural, so there are no environmental or health issues.” Walton contends there’s no difference in planter performance with DUST. The seeding rate was more consistent with the soy product, he says. “And best yet, the increase in

soybean demand could be in the millions of bushels,” Walton adds. Four to 5 million bushels to be exact, according to Low Mu Tech and USB officials. That is if DUST can capture 40 to 45 percent of the planter box lubricant market. Brian Tulley, the co-founder of Low Mu Tech, says its achievable. But it will take time.

Growing sales DUST became commercially available last year — officially introduced during Commodity Classic in Anaheim, California — after 7 years of development and testing. First-year sales were about $100,000, which covered 35,000 to 40,000 acres of various crops.


Tulley believes sales will take off singulation and lubricity characteristics as farmers learn about the soy-based as competing products, research shows. product. This bolsters planter efficiency and “Farmers can use a competitively uniform stands, Tulley says. DUST also priced alternative that they are growing provides plants a kickstart. and increase demand for their products,” The soy-based product winds he adds. up in the root zone of plants. The DUST solves old problems with an protein provides a food source for innovative solution microorganisms in using soybeans, the soil. Tulley continues. “Our claim is we It is a soy protein help get the seed isolate mixed with into the ground,” Brian Tulley soy lecithin. The Tulley says. “And, powdery substance we give the microbes allows seeds to in the soil an easily efficiently flow and digestible protein to lubricate parts at get them excited, and the same time. plants grow faster.” Seeds, especially coated ones, tend to Checkoff funding clump together due to static electricity It was an easy decision to allocate that’s generated by moving parts in checkoff funds to study and help a planters. It increases skips and multiple seeding. Humidity is created in air-based soy-based product gain commercial acceptance, says Keith Cockerline, seed metering systems that can cause director of industrial uses for seeds to stick together, too. SmithBucklin. The company is the Talc and more recently Bayer’s Fluency Agent are predominantly used to primary contract that manages USB projects. increase the odds of singulation, or one “DUST is a project I really, really seed being planted at a time. Graphite reduces wear on components like finger like,” Cockerline says. “It’s a planter box pickups. A blend of both minerals is lubricant that doesn’t have some of the typically used during planting. drawbacks of talc and graphite and it’s DUST has comparable or better eco-friendly.”

DUST, an alternative to graphic talc made from soy, could be the next big thing thanks to an investment by the United Soybean Board.


— Brian Tulley, co-founder of Low Mu Tech

He says DUST is less abrasive than talc, which can cause seed coatings with insecticide to rub off, which could harm pollinators. Graphite is labeled as a carcinogen. The USB likes to fund projects that increase demand for soy, give farmers an opportunity to create a more sustainable footprint and improve producer health, Cockerline says. “That’s important to faramerdirectors,” he adds. DUST is available in 11-pound buckets or 35-pound bags. The cost is $49.50 and $100, respectively. The recommended amount is 1 cup per 80,000 kernels or using at the same rates as graphite/talc blends. The product is recommended for soybeans, corn, milo, cotton, pinto beans or any seed that requires lubricant in the planter box. “Soybean farmers are always looking for the next big thing in demand and DUST could be it,” Walton says. “There’s great potential.” FEBRUARY 2019 | IASOYBEANS.COM | 15


Tao Fei examines a soy solution while processing an experiment at Iowa State University.

SOY SOLUTIONS Soybean wax has exponential potential BY LAUREN HOUSKA


here there is inefficiency, there is opportunity. Three billion pounds of cardboard waste might just provide an important opportunity for U.S. soybean farmers. Iowa State University (ISU) professor and soy innovator Tong Wang has been researching ways to create smart lipid materials and sustainable lipid processes for nearly two decades. One of her most recent projects with soybean oil wax could create demand for millions more bushels of soybeans. “Finding innovative new uses for soybeans that meet a specific market need ultimately increases demand for soybeans, which is particularly important right now,” says April Hemmes, an Iowa Soybean Association district and United Soybean Board (USB) director. To expand and diversify demand for U.S. soybeans, USB invests checkoff


dollars in research that leads to the development and commercialization of sustainable, high-performing products that use soy. The organization has been searching for ways to generate more demand for soybean oil and has supported Dr. Wang’s research. Utilizing high-oleic soybean oil, Wang and her team’s new soybean oil wax product would replace the petroleum-based paraffin wax that usually coats cardboard and other paper products to make them durable and water resistant. “This product behaves much like paraffin,” Dr. Wang says. “But it’s a greener, safer and more sustainable alternative that can be sourced right here in Iowa.” Many long-distance shipping companies use paraffin-wax coated cardboard boxes. Recently, less paraffin has

been available due to demand from other industries, which has raised the price on paraffin and created opportunities for the soybean industry to fill that need. At just 5 percent of the global market, it is estimated that replacing the paraffin wax on cardboard boxes and other paper products with soy-based wax could create annual global demand of 11.4 million bushels of soybeans.

Easier on the environment Paraffin-wax coated cardboard results in approximately 3 billion pounds of waste in landfills around the world each year. Wang says that because paraffin isn’t recyclable or biodegradable, whatever doesn’t end up in landfills is incinerated. Soybean oil wax could be the solution to that problem — Wang’s technology ensures coated cardboard is biodegradable and recyclable.


“In almost every product we work with, companies tout the environmental or sustainability benefits of using soy,” says Mike Erker, USB’s director of biobased products. Soy ingredients are a natural choice for companies looking to make products and processes more sustainable. They’re homegrown, renewable resources that also have a sustainable lifecycle. But just being environmentally friendly might not be enough to bring this product to market. “The bottom line is that it has to work within a company’s requirements. It has to perform as good or better than the competitor’s product, and it has to be cost-effective,” says Erker. “If it doesn’t meet even one of those criteria, in most cases, it’s not going to be used.”

Researchers at Iowa State University have several soy-based products that are nearing commercialization. The products utilize high-oleic soybean oil.

Path to commercialization With two patents under their belt already, commercial viability is the next step for Wang and her team in their quest to bring this product to market. USB has provided support on the commercialization front, helping establish corporate relationships and other technical assistance. “We’ve sent samples to our partner companies and are working to understand what changes might be needed to commercialize this product,” Wang says. Erker says the most valuable information can sometimes come Tong Wang from the commercial testing phase. “Each company we test with will likely have different needs,” he says. “This is when researchers figure out what adjustments are required to meet those needs.” If all goes well, Wang and her team intend to have a commercial adoption plan in place sometime this fall.

Future applications A grant from USB just shy of $90,000 will help develop more state-of-theart applications for soybean oil wax technology and realize the commercial potential for more products.

Wang and her team are already working on another soy-based substitute, this time for carnauba wax. This wax, which has a wide range of uses in products such as car wax, shoe shine and candy coatings, is made from palm leaves grown primarily in Brazil. USB is working with Wang’s team to develop a product that would replace carnauba oil coating on fruits and vegetables. Using soybean wax instead of carnauba would provide a cheaper and more readily available alternative with the added benefit of being produced domestically. Erker says there is even more potential with this technology, specifically in the powdered coating space. One example would be furniture companies looking for a more environmentally friendly and cost-effective coating for their painted furniture. Each potential commercial application of this technology is in a different phase of development. According to the projections of Dr. Wang and her team, products developed with this technology have the potential to create demand for millions more bushels of soybeans annually once these products are

commercialized and reach at least 5 percent market penetration. Wang says this project wouldn’t have gotten this far or had this much potential without the continued support from the soybean checkoff. “Funding and support from USB has really enabled these exciting projects to move forward,” Wang says. “My whole team understands the value of the organization and how it is working to create more demand for U.S. soy.” Contact Lauren Houska at lhouska@iasoybeans.com.


— Tong Wang , ISU professor and soy innovator



OBSTACLES AHEAD Recipes for growth or stagnancy of biodiesel industry linger in 2019 BY KATIE JOHNSON


he biodiesel industry sits at a precipice, awaiting progress on several longtime policy obstacles impeding growth in industry production. “We’re on a teeter-totter,” says Grant Kimberley, executive director of the Iowa Biodiesel Board. “It could go either way this year.” Nearly 30 years ago, biodiesel entered the market that has evolved into a 2 billion-gallons-per-year industry. The National Biodiesel Board reports that Iowa produced a nationleading 285 million gallons in 2017. Estimates for 2018 show that amount has grown to more than 350 million gallons. The U.S. Department of Agriculture projects growth will continue, with 7.8 billion pounds of soybean oil to be used for biodiesel in 2019 – 13 percent


more than 2018 — making it the second largest use of soybean oil behind food. Despite the industry’s booming growth, biodiesel production continues to face several roadblocks that repressed further production in 2018. They include the blenders tax credit, Renewable Fuels Standard (RFS) and small refinery waivers. “Uncertainty lies ahead with the on-and-off-again nature of the biodiesel tax credit,” Kimberley says. “Since 2005, the blenders tax credit has been a foundation of the biodiesel industry and is necessary for continued stability and growth opportunities.” He emphasized that biodiesel plants are stagnant in growth without longterm market assurance. “There is no way to plan long term without knowing whether the tax credit

will be in place,” Kimberley says. Facilities can operate for a while, but they need money to continue and improve, he says. If the tax credit gets reinstated, especially for several years, plants can make investment decisions to become more efficient and improve logistics and infrastructure to be stronger down the road. Western Iowa Energy, located in Wall Lake, chose to diversify their plant, in part, through kosher certification. Brad Wilson, Western Iowa Energy president and general manager, says certifying their facility as kosher improved demand, value and their bottom line. The facility can produce 45 million gallons of biodiesel per year since focusing on soybean oil as a primary ingredient in their biodiesel. Despite the added diversification,


Wilson says policy obstacles still stand in the way. “Biodiesel has really grown. There is strong demand for it,” says Wilson. “But we see programs, such as small refinery waivers take away from potential growth.” Wilson says the biggest hurdles in 2019 will come from the volume obligations outlined in the RFS, the extension of the tax credit and the waivers granted to small refineries, allowing them to waive their obligation to blend biofuels under the RFS. “When they hand out those waivers, it tells those refineries they don’t have to comply with the standards outlined in the RFS, he says. If they must do the waivers, it has to be in a way that doesn’t affect volume obligations and limit our chance for growth.” Growth has been key when it comes to the success of the industry. Programs such as the Low Carbon Fuel Standard (LCFS) in California incentivize the production of biodiesel and other renewable fuels and contribute to an increase in the number of processing plants. Western Iowa Energy recognized the opportunity in California and acted on it. “The LCFS is the reason Western Iowa Energy purchased a plant in California. The demand for an environmentally friendly fuel is huge,”

says Wilson. “I believe we’ll see more states implementing similar programs.” An increased incentive for biodiesel production is a win-win for farmers and consumers. Broadening demand for soybean oil significantly improves farmers’ bottom lines. Just an 11-cent increase in a pound of soy oil equates to an additional 63 cents per bushel for soy growers across the country. Additionally, the industry has created almost 4,000 jobs in the state of Iowa, according to a study by ABF Economics. Kaleb Little, director of communications at the National Biodiesel Board, says biodiesel is the ultimate success story of the soybean farmer and the soybean checkoff. “Farmers should be proud of this product and proud to create this market, which has added so much to their bottom line,” says Little, commenting on the extraordinary growth the industry has seen. “For many farmers, it feels as though biodiesel has been around for a long time, but our 30-year history pales in comparison to the 100-year head start of the petroleum industry.” Little echoes the policy concerns the biodiesel industry shares across the nation. “We will have our eye on D.C., but the biodiesel industry continues to work on all fronts. We are addressing

Employees at Western Iowa Energy in Wall Lake examine data from biodiesel samples. The blenders tax credit has been an important foundation of the biodiesel industry for years.


— Grant Kimberley, executive director of the Iowa Biodiesel Board

and improving this product from an environmental, sustainable and technological standpoint.” Policy issues aside, Little says the product must work for consumers if the industry wants to grow. He emphasizes the use for biodiesel at a consumer level. Biodiesel is one of the only alternative fuels available for the trucking industry. When companies want to reduce emissions or use more American-made fuels, there are not a lot of options outside of petroleum. “At the end of the day, the consumer must be able to use it,” Little adds. Kimberley, Wilson and Little share the same message to Iowa soy growers and beyond: farmers need to be vocal about biodiesel. “Any time our farmers get the chance to talk to politicians, don’t forget to say we need support for renewable fuels,” Little says. “Ask your fuel suppliers to offer biodiesel and encourage friends and family to use it.” Contact Katie Johnson at kjohnson@iasoybeans.com. FEBRUARY 2019 | IASOYBEANS.COM | 19


BUY DIRECT Iowa cooperative ready to directly sell soybeans worldwide BY MATTHEW WILDE


owa’s largest cooperative is working to directly export soybeans and other commodities to customers overseas. Landus Cooperative officials hope it will boost demand for Iowa-grown ag products, which will increase revenue. That will likely mean higher prices for area farmers and increased patronage for members. The Ames-based co-op, with more than 60 locations throughout the state, has access to an export terminal on the Gulf of Mexico. The goal is to become the first farmerowned elevator in the state to offload trains full of soybeans, soybean meal or other ag products onto ships for direct export sale. Ron DeJongh, Landus Cooperative chief commodity marketing officer,


attended the 2018 U.S. Soybean Regional Trade Exchange in Barcelona, Spain, late last year to drum up new export business. He informed soybean buyers from major feed mills and crushers in Europe, the Middle East and North Africa about the cooperative’s ample soy supplies and potential shipping capabilities. “All the uncertainty with China right now creates opportunities to create new supply chains,” DeJongh says. “Europe, Northern Africa and the Middle East are excellent, growing markets.” Indeed, they are. U.S. soybean and soybean meal exports to the regions are up 210 percent and 17 percent, respectively, as of mid-December since the

marketing year began, according to the U.S. Soybean Export Council (USSEC). This equals about 140 million bushels of additional soybean sales compared to last year. The surge is due to changing supply and demand dynamics and cheaper U.S. soy compared to South American competitors due to the U.S.-China trade war. USSEC and industry officials predict U.S. soybean sales to Europe alone could possibly double to 13 million metric tons (478 million bushels) this year. Meal sales could almost double as well at 1.6 million metric tons. Combine that with a trade truce with China and U.S. soy shipments resuming to the world’s largest buyer, DeJongh is excited about the future.


“The market is telling buyers to • Logistics — Fifty-five grain locations, of which 13 unit-train sign contracts with the U.S. right now,” loaders accessing all seven Iowa he adds. “Today, we are focused on railroads, all of which can access rail-direct markets like Mexico. But the Mississippi River or Gulf we want to load soybeans and soy market. products into rail cars and send them to • Location — Industry experts say the Gulf, which can be loaded on ships Iowa soybeans are often sought that can go anywhere in the world for after by buyers due to quality and direct sale.” relationships the state’s farmers Landus Cooperative’s Mexico sales have formed with customers include soybeans and SoyPlus®. The overseas. high bypass soybean meal, primarily a • Quality — Meeting foreign dairy feed ingredient, is also exported to material (FM) requirements won’t many countries such as Saudi Arabia. be an issue. It’s typically not a Soybean bids at the cooperative’s problem in IowaRalston crushing raised soybeans. plant are typically The less soy is 20 to 30 cents per co-mingled and bushel higher due handled, the more to demand for FM is reduced. SoyPlus. Fifteen • Expertise — percent of the Employees can product is shipped handle contracts, Randy Souder overseas. insurance, planning, Cooperative shipping, etc. members, struggling A 110-car unit with low commodity prices for several train holds about 10,000 metric tons years exasperated by China shunning (about 367,500 bushels) of soybeans. U.S. soy until recently, say the effort A panamax ship can carry about to boost oilseed demand and prices 60,000 metric tons (2.2 million couldn’t come at a better time. bushels). The cooperative’s goal is Farmers close to the Mississippi to fill unit trains of Iowa soybeans and Illinois rivers typically enjoy better and value-added products and export soybean basis levels — the difference them direct via a panamax., between local cash and futures prices — than those farther away due to export demand. The waterways are arteries to the Gulf. “Additional soy export opportunities should enhance basis levels for farmers,” DeJongh says. Randy Souder, a Landus Cooperative member and grain farmer from Rockwell City, hopes the co-op’s export aspirations will do the same thing for him. “If we could see a basis improvement of 15 to 20 cents, I would be happy,” says the Iowa Soybean Association (ISA) Communications Squad member. “Every nickel is crucial in this economy.” DeJongh says Landus Cooperative is uniquely positioned to become an export player. Here’s why: • Size — More than 50 million bushels of soybeans are handled annually.

Landus Cooperative can supply biotech or non-biotech soy, DeJongh says. Corn and dried distillers’ grains can be shipped as well. “We have the logistics expertise and the ability to meet customer demands globally if the opportunity presents itself,” he continues. “If the customer is looking for certain characteristics of protein or identity preservation, our farmer-members can provide that service, too.” Additional marketing options and building demand always benefits farmers, says Grant Kimberley, ISA market development director. Some customers may like to do business with the cooperative rather than larger exporters like ADM or Bunge. During trade missions and visits to Iowa, Kimberley says buyers often ask if they can buy bulk soy directly from farmers. With Landus Cooperative purchasing soy from members and shipping it overseas, that’s as close to fulfilling the wishes of some customers as it can get. “Iowa has a good reputation for quality soybeans,” Kimberley says. “This is another way to take advantage of strong relationships that farmers and the industry have cultivated.”

Workers at Landus Cooperative move a 540,000-bushel soybean pile into storage. Landus would like to directly export soybeans and other commodities over seas.




LABEL FATIGUE Consumer survey shows Iowans find branding claims misleading


avvy shoppers avoid stale food. The same can be said for a majority of branding claims. Eight in 10 Iowans find food labels misleading, according to the Iowa Food & Family Project’s (Iowa FFP) annual Consumer Pulse Survey conducted among households’ primary food purchasers. This finding, along with 55 percent reporting attributes like “organic” or “all natural” have little to no influence on their purchasing decisions, shows Iowa grocery shoppers may be growing numb to the product packaging in their cart. “Shoppers are becoming increasingly indifferent to the flashy label claims food marketers are using, especially those that are rooted in misinformation,” says Aaron Putze, APR, Iowa Soybean Association (ISA) communications and external relations director. “Twentytwo percent said they don’t seek out information on food labels at all.” Now in its seventh year, the annual survey takes a pulse of Iowans’ food purchasing habits, including


label influence and attitudes toward farming. Year-over-year findings drive ISA’s consumer engagement strategy, including Iowa FFP’s programming and content development. The November 2018 survey had 676 responses, made up of 295 Iowa FFP newsletter subscribers and 381 non-subscribers across the state. Respondents’ age groups, income levels, education levels and geographic regions closely follow the state’s population, resulting in a low margin of error of 3.79 percent. Blue Compass, a digital marketing agency in West Des Moines, conducted the survey analysis from data collected through Research Now’s business-toconsumer panel.

Label lookout According to the survey, three in four respondents seek information on food labels, but the intensity with which food labels influence purchase behavior wasn’t as evident as in previous years. Overall, nutrition and ingredients were


the most influential parts of food labels with 24 percent of respondents selecting each as “extremely influential.” In looking at specific label attributes, more than half of more of respondents say the following attributes have no effect on purchases: • 50 percent reported “hormone-free” labels have no effect on purchase • 53 percent reported “antibiotic-free” labels have no effect on purchase • 53 percent reported “organic” labels have no effect on purchase • 58 percent reported “non-GMO” labels have no effect on purchase “The number of ‘organic’ or ‘nonGMO’ labels in grocery stores makes it seem that those are the only products consumers want,” says Shannon Latham, vice president of Latham Hi-Tech Seeds – one of Iowa FFP’s nearly 35 partner organizations. “It’s interesting to see many of these labels aren’t resonating as strongly with Iowa consumers.” Food quality is the most important factor to Iowans when they’re grocery


shopping with 58 percent rating it as “most important.” Quality was followed by price, nutritional value, ease of preparation, sustainability, where/ how it was grown and raised, and compliance with diet, respectively. Among these influencers, price of food was the only factor to show an increase in “most important” ratings from 2017, up 4 percent.

From fridge to farm To measure the thought that Iowans put into their grocery shopping, respondents are asked how strongly they agree with a series of statements. The survey found that more than half think about how their food was grown and raised, 65 percent reporting being knowledgeable about agriculture and 83 percent report being satisfied with Iowa agriculture. For Randy Miller, ISA District 8 executive committee director from Lacona, the findings are encouraging. “So often we only hear the loudest, most negative voices,” Miller says. “The reality is — when we share information about what farmers are doing and how they are doing it — perceptions are positive.” Miller sees Iowa FFP as a valuable initiative that farmers can leverage to connect with consumers. “As farmers, it’s up to us to get out and share our stories. It makes a difference in consumer attitudes. We need to tap into the Iowa FFP network to continue building two-way conversations between farmers and consumers.” Iowa FFP subscribers were significantly more likely than nonsubscribers to be “very satisfied” with Iowa agriculture, 47 vs. 36 percent, respectively. The ag awareness initiative reaches nearly 120,000 followers each month through its newsletter, website and social media channels. This reach is roughly equivalent to the combined populations of Altoona, Cedar Falls and Dubuque. The survey included a series of questions about farmer performance, asking if farmers are on the right or wrong track with water quality, caring what consumers think, building

strong communities, animal housing, providing safe foods and biotechnology. Overall, respondents feel farmers are on the right track with those issues measured. Nine out of 10 believe farmers are on track with building strong communities and providing safe foods. Thirty percent of respondents feel farmers are on the wrong track with water quality, the highest percentage of wrong track responses. This response was consistent with 2017 survey results.

Impacts of the initiative Overall, Iowa FFP subscribers were more likely than non-subscribers to be informed on food topics and show positive sentiments toward Iowa agriculture. “It’s clear this initiative is having a positive impact on Iowans embracing – rather than fearing – modern agriculture,” says Latham, a longtime Iowa FFP partner. Forty-four percent of Iowans reported being familiar with Iowa FFP, a 9 percent increase from 2016. Ten percent reported being “very familiar” in 2018, an 8 percent increase from 2016. For additional survey highlights, visit iowafoodandfamily.com/news.



Contact Kelly Visser at kvisser@iasoybeans.com.

Fifty Iowa consumers tour northeast Iowa farms during Iowa FFP's Expedition Farm Country. FEBRUARY 2019 | IASOYBEANS.COM | 23


SENSOR-ING A CHANGE New uses in precision agriculture BY CAROL BROWN


he agriculture industry has been using sensors in precision agriculture for some time, but researchers at the Iowa Soybean Association (ISA) are pushing the boundaries on what can be discovered with this technology. For soybean farmers to stay competitive in national and international markets, yield is vital. But now other factors are becoming equally important, including protein and oil content. Can soybean yield and nutritional values be accurately mapped in the field? Can the industry be smarter about soybean seed quality? A project recently underway is exploring these questions. “In the past, measuring soybean protein and oil content required the collection of soybean seed samples and laboratory analyses,” says Peter Kyveryga, ISA Analytics director. “With recent innovations in sensor

technologies, it is now possible to map soybean protein and oil in the field.” ISA is leading a project with Iowa State University (ISU) and John Deere Co. to map protein and oil content while soybeans are developing and during harvest. The success of this project could impact farmer management decisions and how they grow and market their crop. The research team, with support from the United Soybean Board, collected and calibrated aerial images of soybean fields on two central Iowa farms and five ISU research farm fields every 10 to 15 days between June and early September. They studied fields with both 15- and 30-inch rows. “The researchers have flown over my fields with drones and planes, and they did an intensive probe sampling all across one of the fields,” says Dave Struthers,

Matt Darr, Agricultural and Biosystems Engineering professor


who farms near Collins. “I’ve got all kinds of colorful maps and lots of data.” Kyveryga is analyzing that data from the 2018 growing season, which includes yield data, protein and oil maps and inseason aerial images. “The higher yields don’t always correlate with high protein or high oil values,” says Kyveryga. “In general, field areas with higher protein had lower oil content, but this wasn’t consistent across all the fields.” Agricultural and Biosystems Engineering professor Matt Darr is the lead from ISU on this project. He believes protein sensing and aerial imagery have a strong future. “Quantifying the magnitude of soybean protein variability and connecting that to management and environmental factors is the first step toward a higher quality product,” he says.


Figure 1: Maps of an ISU research farm soybean field, divided into 75x75-foot grid, indicating soybean yield, protein and oil content. The top row represents the standard deviation in each grid. The bottom row represents average yield (bu/acre), and percent of protein (center) and oil (right) relative to the levels in all five fields where soybean quality data was collected during harvest by a near infrared (NIR) sensor.

Aerial imagery offers a unique approach to measure infield variability at a scale that is not available with past technologies, says Darr, who also heads the ISU Digital Agriculture Innovations Team. “The broad access and low cost of high-resolution imagery today provide researchers and growers with new techniques and insights for crop production,” says Darr. At harvest, ISU researchers equipped a combine with sensors and collected spatial data from five farmers and ISU research farm fields. They measured yield as well as protein and oil of the harvested grain. In the 30-inch width rows, protein content tended to be higher with higher yield. In the 15-inch rows, protein decreased when yields dipped below 55 bu/acre and then increased with yields above 55 bu/acre. Two of the seven fields had

relatively large areas (up to 60 and 70 percent) that indicated protein content lower than 34 percent. Three fields had 80 to 95 percent of the area with oil content lower than 19 percent. According to Kyveryga, soybeans with protein lower than 34 percent and oil lower than 19 percent can put the U.S. at a disadvantage in international trade. “This research is a key aspect of understanding the technology and will be a springboard to fully understand how we can modify our management practices to improve Dave soybean quality,” Struthers says Darr. “It would be good to have this kind of technology someday,” says Struthers. “But there are a lot of steps that would have to happen for farmers to be compensated for soybeans with higher protein or oil content. The processor would need the ability to segregate higher quality beans from the

rest and premium pricing scale would also need to be in place.” In the next phase of the project, through machine learning and analytical methods, the research team will identify factors that might drive spatial variability in soybean protein and oil, including soil, management, weather or genetics. They will collect dense data from soil organic matter and soil testing to look at potential trends between soybean quality and soil fertility. Kyveryga says researchers will also explore the relationship between amino acid content and different vegetation indices from calibrated aerial imagery collected on the farmers’ fields. “Using sensors in agriculture was once thought of as futuristic,” says Kyveryga. “This emerging technology of mapping soybean fields for protein and oil content could be beneficial.” Researchers say someday farmers could improve profitability by adopting management practices for better soybean nutritional value. Contact Carol Brown at cbrown@iasoybeans.com. FEBRUARY 2019 | IASOYBEANS.COM | 25

Cooperators Needed for On-Farm Research BY SCOTT NELSON, ON-FARM NETWORK® DIRECTOR


he On-Farm Network® at the Iowa Soybean Association (ISA) is seeking cooperators to participate in several replicated strip trials. Studies are concentrated by geographies such as soybean gall midge, or equipment, such as striptillage or variable rate nitrogen. The On-Farm Network team is also testing a promising new biological that fixes nitrogen called Envita™. All strip trials will help farmers and ISA

learn how products or methods work at the field scale and on their land. These are just a few trials that need participants: • Soybean maturity by planting date • Soybean and corn yield enhancement with Envita • Nitrogen management • Soybean yield comparisons with no-till versus conventional tillage

Additional trials and requirements are listed on the ISA website under Publications and Resources–Protocols. Farmers interested in participating in a replicated strip trial should contact their ISA regional agronomist or send an email to: research@iasoybeans.com. Contact Scott Nelson at snelson@iasoybeans.com.


Matt Hoffman

Northwest Iowa mhoffman@iasoybeans.com 712-210-2100


Anthony Martin

Northeast Iowa amartin@iasoybeans.com 515-334-1048

Brett McArtor

Southeast Iowa bmcartor@iasoybeans.com 515-334-1037

Drew Clemmensen

Southwest Iowa dclemmensen@iasoybeans.com 515-339-4262


soybean processor


The Last Word Editor’s Notes by Ann Clinton aclinton@iasoybeans.com

Kindness in Agriculture


bout a year ago, when my father was diagnosed with cancer, I mentioned it in this column. I wrote about how the changes were impacting my family’s lives and specifically, our emotions. As a daughter grieving the situation, I discussed how I was struggling with watching my dad hurt. Shortly after the magazine was published, I received an email from a man named Franco. In that correspondence, he didn’t sign his last name or indicate where he lived. He just told me he was a farmer who related to my story because he was battling cancer. He said he too had a daughter who loved him, and she was filled with worry. That email meant a lot to me. Written simply and sincerely, his note represented a lifeline of sorts to me. It was a sign that we are all in this thing together; however, you define the “thing” to be. When you realize there are others out there, walking

the same path as you are, you feel less scared. I believe there is strength in community. As I responded to his email, I told Franco how important his words were to me. I thanked him for comforting a stranger such as myself. I said I was motivated to pass the kindness onto the next person. I guess that sparked an unlikely friendship, as Franco and I kept in communication. We eventually met for the first and only time at the Farm Progress Show last year. He asked me about my dad, and I asked him about his daughter. I recently received word that Franco passed away. To say the news was heartbreaking is an understatement. I didn’t know Franco well, but I knew enough. His compassion, his vulnerability and love for his family were clearly articulated in his understated mannerisms. Franco’s email started a chain

reaction I could have never anticipated at the time. But that’s what kindness is all about. Those of us in agriculture see it all the time. A farmer gets hurt and neighbors swoop into harvest. Someone is in need, and the agricultural community responds. Here’s to all those out there fighting the good fight. Those who understand human compassion and empathy. Those who simply love their people. I am grateful for you. Thank you for your continued support of this magazine and the Iowa Soybean Association as a whole. This issue is full of good news related to new uses produced from soybeans and research advancing the value of your commodity. The checkoff work being done on behalf of farmers is exciting. Drop me a note if you have some other good news stories to share. I’d love to hear from you.





Ocheyedan, IA OP ERAT ION:

Grain & Livestock Producer View his story at: fcsamerica.com/douglas


WE KNOW ALL ABOUT ECONOMIC CYCLES IN AGRICULTURE. That’s why we deliver financial strength and capacity to help you grow, attractive rates to give you an edge and cash-back dividends that give you something more. All delivered by people who understand your business like no other. Call 800-884-FARM.

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Iowa Soybean Review, February 2019