CLEGHORN, Iowa — Tom Oswald has been working the land near Cleghorn, Iowa for decades on a farm that's been in his family since the late 1800s.
A lot of his work is in service of soy.
A lull in planting after a rainy night gives Tom Oswald a chance to check over his planter.
This farmer isn't shy when it comes to telling you about his work.
"I farm soybeans and corn," said Oswald, with a smile.
Oswald is serving his third three-year term on the United Soybean Board.
"Dollars come out of the farmer's pocket in that checkoff and I want to see tens and twenties go back in," said Oswald.
The board is a national group, funded by farmers, to help homegrown soy get a leg up.
"It's an international market and everybody's asking that question - 'why do we want to buy beans from you?'" said Oswald.
He says one way to do that these days is by encouraging sustainability practices on the farm - something he does himself.
They don't call him 'No-Till Tom' for nothing.
"So that's why when I take someone across the road and say that field across the road from where we're standing hasn't had a disc, a field cultivator or full-width tillage in it for over 20 years, because I want soil erosion to stop, I want the water to be used for crop production instead of running off and I can honestly say that, they listen," said Oswald.
As for the future - whether or not this is his last term with the soy checkoff, Oswald encourages other farmers to serve.
"The rewards are not financial, the rewards are hard to describe, because it's that intangible... working with other farmers, locally, nationally, it's that bigger picture," said Oswald. "Working with city people who do not know a thing about agriculture and making a connection - you can't be paid for that. It's wonderful."
If you'd like to find out more about the United Soybean Board and the soybean checkoff, please visit this website.
If you know of someone that would be great on "Proud to be a Hometown Farmer," please email Jake Heller at firstname.lastname@example.org.