Hampton, Iowa’s April Hemmes is in her eighth year as a United Soybean Board farmer-leader. Hemmes is a vocal leader for USB and currently serves as a member of the Executive Committee and as the Demand Action Team Chair. On her farm, Hemmes grows soybeans and corn and uses sustainable agriculture farming practices to do her part in making sure the soil is rich in nutrients and will be ready for future generations when the time comes.
“My family has been farming on this land for 125 years, and we are very proud of that. That didn’t make me a guaranteed successor to run the farm, though. I knew education was the key for me, so I went off to school and learned all that I could. I brought that back to the farm and proved to my father that I could take on the many challenges of running the farm operation,” Hemmes remembers.
Early in her childhood, Hemmes knew that she wanted to farm. As a child she has fond memories of being outside where she developed a love for the land at an early age. Like many children who grew up in farming families, she loved riding on her family Ford 8N tractor as cattle were tended for and silage wagons were in the field. She considers herself fortunate to get to see how things were done at a young age and credits those early memories for helping to shape who she is today.
Hemmes’ father and grandfather continued to provide her with advice and counsel as she ran day-to-day life on the farm. “My dad and grandfather are both gone now, but my grandfather lived to be 101 years old. He really wanted to plant soybeans at 100 years old, so I remember getting him up and making sure he was able to achieve that dream. How many people, at 100 years old, want to plant soybeans and harvest corn? He got to do that, and he had an amazing life and taught me a lot about farming and life,” explained Hemmes.
Hemmes started getting asked to provide insight and to serve on various boards and committees. She always knew that one key thing that she could do to help better agriculture was to get involved and help make things better. Hemmes got appointed to USB and says that she was content to serve on committees and be a voice behind the scenes. She said that she never had the intention to run for the Executive Board, but when the opportunity arose, she knew that she was the right person to step up.
“You can only have one person per state on the Executive Board, and Iowa was blessed to have Tom Oswald serving. I was comfortable serving behind the scenes on USB because you can do so much impactful work. When Tom passed away unexpectedly, I knew that it was my chance to step up and get more involved. I wanted to honor Tom’s legacy and passion for the industry that we all love,” said Hemmes. “Truly, I never expected to hold this position, but I really love it. I wouldn’t do this if I didn’t fully believe we were making a difference in supporting soybean farmers’ interests both home and abroad.”
Hemmes is quick to point out that the results of the checkoff are quantifiable. With a return of $12.34 for every dollar invested, the checkoff continues to be a great investment for farmers and she hopes that more farmers will become involved so that the checkoff remains strong.