Information and photo courtesy of Iowa Soybean Association. More than 400 farmers, industry and political leaders and industry stakeholders gathered for the Iowa Soybean Association’s (ISA) 50th Anniversary Symposium & Banquet. The program held Dec. 17-18 in Des Moines, focused on the past, present and future of the soybean industry, ISA and U.S. agriculture. ASA President Wade Cowan, Brownfield, Texas, spoke during the event, congratulating ISA on 50 years of representing soy growers and all of the work they’ve accomplished.ASA President Wade Cowan speaks at Iowa’s 50th Anniversary celebration in December. Credit: Iowa Soybean AssociationAmong the many highlights of the two-day celebration was a keynote address by Gov. Terry Branstad who marveled at the success the ISA has seen since its inception in 1964.“It’s amazing to think how much agriculture has changed and the key role ISA has played along the way,” said Branstad. “You’ve made it a priority to develop new markets and create new products for soybeans. It’s because of this work that Iowa continues to be a leader in agriculture.”The sessions that followed gave considerable time to the critical issues of today and explored future opportunities and challenges. Topics discussed included transportation, farm policy, global agriculture trade and demand, renewable energy, production research, freedom to operate, environmental quality and market forecasts were among the many issues discussed.Closing the event was a keynote panel entitled “Thinking Forward. The Next 50 Years of Agriculture.” Agriculture leaders engaged in an open discussion on the future of the industry. Panelists included:Dr. Robb Fraley, executive vice president and chief technology officer, MonsantoJim Knuth, sr. vice president, Farm Credit Services of AmericaPaul Schickler, president, DuPont PioneerHarry Stine, founder, Stine SeedKirk Leeds, chief executive officer, Iowa Soybean Association“We’re entering a new, very competitive era for soybean farmers,” said Leeds. “ISA will remain relevant to Iowa farmers as we continue to bring insight, knowledge and perspective on issues that affect their bottom line.”Additional stories from the ISA 50th Anniversary Symposium & Banquet is available here.