John Deere’s Lesson in Perseverance

John Deere faced a number of challenges along the path to creating Deere & Company – raised by a single mother after the early death of his father, he had a limited education and faced the threat of bankruptcy as he created the company. But with a background as a blacksmith, he was confident the steel plow would solve the issues of the heavy soils of Illinois sticking to cast iron plows. He is quoted as saying, “If we don’t improve our products, somebody else will and we will lose our trade.” Indeed, his steel plow helped improve agricultural productivity.

We Illinois soybean farmers can take a page from Deere’s book on perseverance. This year, we’ve battled the effects of late planting and prevented planting, challenging, in-season weather and lower prices stemming partly from the ongoing trade war with China.  

Yet, we persevere and continue to focus on success. The Illinois Soybean Association (ISA) has targeted increasing farmer profitability and building customer demand across multiple markets in the projects funded for FY20. We are concentrating on making sure farmers have the tools we need to not only survive, but thrive, well into the future. Projects include:

  • Supporting ILSoyAdvisor and farmer profitability programs so farmers maintain valuable soybean acres and stay on the cutting edge of production practices and technologies.
  • Increasing the use of B20 and higher biodiesel blends in Illinois, and educating a broader group of audiences about the advantages of using biodiesel.
  • Facilitating trade team visits and contacts to increase customer preference for Illinois soy, as well as focusing on new market development to maximize use of Illinois soy.
  • Maximizing transportation, infrastructure and logistics advantages for Illinois soybean growers over road, river and rail.
  • Advancing the HY+Q program to bring more awareness to the importance of soybean quality and improving soybean amino acid levels.
  • Sharing forward thinking and leadership in this Soy Perspectives magazine.

ISA Chairman Doug SchroederThis issue of the magazine spotlights our marketplace – especially international, traditional markets, but also new and emerging markets like Nigeria and Vietnam. We must remain forward thinking and look to fill displaced demand from China.

Building demand extends beyond targeting markets and also includes things we can do on our farms. For example, growing soybean varieties sought by buyers, maintaining condition of our soybeans in storage and choosing sustainable production practices that add value to our bushels.

As we approach a new calendar year, ISA’s mission remains to strive to enable Illinois soybean producers to be the most knowledgeable and profitable in the world. I hope you will persevere with the mindset of John Deere. And best wishes for a meaningful holiday season.