Chris Adams is delivering crops straight from his farmland to the doorsteps of foreign customers. As a partner with Adams Family Farm, Adams is transforming his North Dakota farming operation with an export business built on trust and boots-on-the-ground trade missions. His forward-thinking vision and commitment to diversification are what earned him a spot as a 2019 Top Producer Of The Year finalist.
The operation spans 9,000 acres around Grand Forks, N.D. Wheat, hemp, soybeans, and six varieties of edible beans make up a diverse crop roster.
“There aren’t many things we can’t grow here,” he says.
In the last decade, the farm has produced, on average, 30% to 50% of the country’s cranberry beans. Adams saw that as a competitive advantage. He began research and joined trade missions, finding buyers across the globe and creating a vertically integrated operation.
“When I sit across the table from a customer in Dubai, I can say I planted those beans, I cared for them and I cleaned them myself,” he says.
Adams is continuing his family’s legacy. In 2010, he joined the operation and today the farm is a partnership between Adams, his wife, Kelsey, and his parents, Steve and Darla Adams. The fourth-generation operation employs seven full-time and 65 part-time team members.
“It was important for me to pave my own way as best I could,” he says. “I’m 32 and I’m finally figuring out my own path.”
Since joining the operation, Adams has taken a deep dive into several strategic initiatives. They have implemented new software to track real-time expenses, equipment costs and inventories. They have invested in their team by creating job descriptions, job titles and semi-annual performance reviews. In the field, they are using drones, aerial mapping and fertilizer prescriptions to improve crop production and soil help.