DAC Offers Leadership and Learning Opportunities for Members
This winter, Iowa Soybean Association’s (ISA) district advisory councils (DAC) have been active with meetings, tours, speakers and learning sessions.
The state is divided up into nine districts, with the goal of each county in the district having a representative. According ISA District Coordinator Jen Hansen, DACs meet about three times a year, including ISA’s annual policy conference, to discuss county needs and how ISA can address them.
“We use the learning and advising meetings to hear about their needs,” Hansen says. “The district advisory councils are a conduit of information between the people of the district, the directors and leadership at ISA.”
Along with learning sessions, DAC members also have the option to explore leadership opportunities.
“We will be sending one person from each DAC to attend such events as Iowa State University’s field day, Soy Leadership College, ISA’s environmental meetings and other opportunities that not every farmer gets to experience,” Hansen says.
Some of those opportunities include touring AGP’s soybean processing plant in Emmetsburg, Amana Farm’s manure digester system in Amana, Pioneer’s greenhouses in Johnston and the Iowa Renewable Energy Biodiesel Plant in Washington.
“We are always striving to provide quality programming,” Hansen says. “What we’d like to do is ultimately have the DAC members drive the program. We’ll ask, ‘What do you need and how can we give it to you?’ and then go from there.”
Jerome Burken from Clinton is a member of the district six advisory council and says it’s important to be an advocate for agriculture.
“If you don’t support your own organization, then who will?” Burken says. “It’s your future, so take part in it. Things may not happen the way you like if you’re not there to contribute. That’s why I find it worthwhile to participate in the district advisory council.”
Hansen says DACs provide a connection to ISA with fewer commitments than being on the ISA board and are a great way to learn about ISA programs, policy and more.
Brian Kemp, ISA director from Sibley, feels DAC members gain a great understanding of the soybean industry in Iowa.
“I feel activities, like the recent AGP tour, give the members a better understanding of ISA’s programs and the resources available to them as soybean producers and to the soybean industry as a whole,” Kemp says. “As a district director, I appreciate the input from council members. I feel well-informed council members will provide high quality input to guide ISA. I hope DAC members feel they are gaining knowledge of the soybean industry and making a positive contribution to ISA.”
Many counties in Iowa currently have a DAC representative, but there are still some open. If you are interested in serving on a District Advisory Council now or in the future, please contact Jen Hansen at email@example.com or 515-669-9167.