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Iowa Soybean Association Survey: Key Issues

Ankeny, Iowa – Iowa soybean farmers are concerned about herbicide resistance, market volatility and building exports. They perceive domestic livestock production and consumer confidence in today’s farming methods as critical to their future success. And they’re heavily invested in on-farm management practices to improve soil and water quality and eager to learn how to successfully implement components of the Iowa Nutrient Reduction Strategy.

The insight was provided by nearly 440 soybean farmers surveyed by CampaignHQ of Brooklyn. The poll was conducted in November on behalf of the Iowa Soybean Association (ISA). 

When asked what the biggest challenge will be to the soybean industry in the next two to three years, 16 percent of farmers said herbicide resistance followed by market volatility (15 percent). 

Among nine topics queried, soybean farmers ranked weed, insect and disease research, growth of domestic livestock production, favorable consumer trust in farming and international market growth for soybeans as the top-four issues affecting the continued success of their farming operations.

Soybean farmers have embraced a variety of on-farm strategies to improve environmental performance and are interested in learning more about the Iowa Nutrient Reduction Strategy, according to the survey.

• Fifty-five percent cited minimum tillage (most popular response) followed by no-till (49 percent), grassed waterways (41 percent) and crop rotation (36 percent) when queried about conservation practices currently used on their farms. 

• Thirty-nine percent said they are familiar with the Iowa Nutrient Reduction Strategy. Nearly one-third say they’re planning to participate in the strategy while 52 percent were considering involvement.

• When asked what the ISA can do to best assist soybean farmers in participating in the strategy, 37 percent said additional information and analysis about practices to help them assess what may work best on their farms, 18 percent indicated more information about the strategy while 11 percent said to provide more opportunities to view on-farm demonstrations.

Other findings of note:

• Seventy-eight percent of soybean farmers surveyed do not plan to change the number of acres they plant to soybeans in 2014; 12 percent said they plan to plant more acres to soybeans while 11 percent plan to plant fewer acres to soybeans.

• Ninety-four percent say soybean exports are important to the price they receive for their soybeans.

Soybean farmers also value information and engagement provided by the ISA. Ninety-three percent of respondents say information they receive from the ISA is trustworthy while 88 percent perceive it to be valuable. In addition, 86 percent of those surveyed said they would recommend an ISA membership to other farmers. 


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