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RSS By: Chris Barron

Chris BarronHave a margins question? Through this blog, you will gain insight into improving your bottom line, as a margins expert answers questions and provides farm business advice.


Ag Education Opportunities

Dec 04, 2011


One of the most effective ways to improve the bottom line can come through networking, new ideas, and new technology. This past week I attended the Integrated Crop Management Conference at Iowa State University. The conference provided layers of research and information geared toward helping producers and crop consultants tackle the many challenges of crop production. As with any conference there are high and low points, some information may be review while other information is exciting with tremendous profit opportunities.
Today's busy schedules offer little time to attend seminars and conferences. It takes extra effort and motivation in order to be away from the farming operation and family for several days. On the other hand, investing time into some of these events can generate tremendous monetary rewards. University extension, agricultural companies, commodity groups, and media such as “Farm Journal Media” provide information opportunities which can lead to direct profits on the farm.
Here are two important questions to ask: How much time should I invest in education? What value do conferences and seminars return to my bottom line?
Let's first consider the value of networking. Networking in many cases is the most effective component of attending a seminar. A simple conversation with other farmers during a conference can lead to unique ideas or applications for your farm. These conversations may also lead to ongoing relationships which mutually benefit both parties over long periods of time. Meeting new people is a great way to improve creativity and open your mind to new concepts and ideas.
Getting a first-hand look at new technology is another benefit of attending seminars or conferences. Obviously these technologies can be viewed and studied through various types of media rather than having to attend a conference. Conversely, by attending you're able to get the “touch and feel” experience. You can look at a new combine on the computer, but if you can “touch and feel” you have a much better idea of how the product might fit your specific needs. At a marketing conference you may be able to ask questions which apply directly to your situation. It's one thing to read advice; it's another thing to have a conversation with an expert about your specific challenge or opportunity in person.
Finally, let's put some numbers down in order to estimate the value of continuing education through conferences and seminars.
Let's assume a conference attended this coming summer provides a technique which would improve yield by just “1” bushel per acre! If you had 500 acres of corn production at a price of $6.00 per/bu. you would generate an additional $3000 each year. If you spend two days learning this technique it’s made you $1500 each day! 10 years of using this technique provides you an additional $30,000! Imagine the improvement of your productivity each year.
If you improved your marketing by $.10 cents per bushel on 500 acres of production, you could receive an additional $10,000 each year! Two days of learning could equate to a $5000 payback each day!
Not every conference or seminar will produce big returns. Keep in mind, it's not the big opportunities that create results - it's all of the little things that add up - which make the Big Returns!
There are numerous educational opportunities on AgWeb, check them out!
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