I met with members of FamilyFarms Group (FFG) on the bluffs above the Mississippi River as part of an exclusive media event designed to "open the doors" to FFG. Allen Lash, CEO of FFG, along with several staff and a handful of FFG farm team members, were on hand to talk about their experiences. Tomorrow, we spend the day at FFG's Brighton, Ill., headquarters.
Lash kicked off the evening by saying this event is an opportunity to "share" and be "more transparent." I look forward to hearing more from this group, one that Top Producer has followed through the years. FFG is a unique business model that has had its challenges, and its years of secrecy have only served to stoke the rumor mill. I continually receive emails and letters from Top Producer readers asking for more information on this group, which now comprises more than 380,000 member acres.
Here are the stories I wrote from this week's event:
FamilyFarms Group allowed select media behind its typically closed doors to learn more about this member-only group of family farms.
Read previous Top Producer stories about FamilyFarms:
Top of Mind: When the Big Fall
A giant in the land of black dirt has fallen. Big-time farm operator and past Top Producer of the Year finalist Rick Rosentreter of Illinois Family Farms filed Chapter 11 bankruptcy this past November. (January 2012)
Family... By Invitation
One by one during the past three years, Allen Lash has quietly assembled a network of farmers to invest in FamilyFarms LLC. (Spring 2009)
Cash in on Rent
Fine-tuning his margins heled a young farmer affod top rates. (Summer 2006)
Throw the Bums Out!
Ditching the money losers on the Mehmens' Iowa farm boosted profits by 40%. (Spring 2005)