A team strategy of "together everyone achieves more" is the mind-set Doug Rupp has used as a teacher and full-time grain farmer based in northwest Ohio, near Stryker.
"People I respect and have learned from are all on my team," says Rupp, who taught business and free enterprise classes for 30 years while coaching wrestling, running a painting contracting business and building the farm operation. Rupp continues to emphasize the value of teamwork by tapping into the expertise of his agronomist, banker, lawyer, part-time employee Kelsey Stamm and, most importantly, his wife, Nancy, who serves as partner and financial manager.
Always the student, Rupp is partnering with Farm Journal Media in the Ultimate Farm Quest. The new endeavor matched the Rupps with experts to help them reach the next level with their management, marketing and production practices.
The Rupps’ team includes: Chip Flory, editor and publisher of Pro Farmer, a newsletter that covers agricultural markets and policies and is published by Farm Journal Media; Missy Bauer, Farm Journal associate field agronomist; and Barry Ward, leader of production business management at Ohio State University.
The Rupps’ desire for good counsel and their ability to sift through information and make decisions that move their farm business forward set them apart from many operators, Ward says.
"They’re extremely business-minded, self-disciplined and able to address the big picture aspects as well as the details," Ward says.
The Rupps, both 62, are fiscally conservative, but they are quick to try new technology and production practices to add to their bottom line. Variable-rate seeding, RTK networks, yield mapping and fertilizer by the row are just a few of the technologies the Rupps have evaluated and then adopted.
The Rupps’ crop yields are above average for their area, Bauer says. More importantly, "everything they do agronomically ties back into profitability," she adds.
A crucial aspect of profitability is focusing on marketing to extract the most value from each crop.
"They’ve got a good plan and know the financial goals they want to reach," Flory says.
Meet the Rupp Family
> The operation includes 2,000 acres in northwest Ohio.
> The family uses a team of advisers, including an agronomist, attorney and banker.
> The Rupps have two sons: Noah, a nuclear engineer, and Jacob, a college senior.
In the coming months, the Rupp family will continue to be featured in the pages of Top Producer and on a special segment of "U.S. Farm Report" (RFD-TV). To stay up-to-date, click here.
Top Producer, September 2010