Breaking Barriers: Insights from Top Producer Summit

01:00PM Feb 20, 2019
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Producers and agricultural professionals gathered for education and networking at Top Producer Summit, which took place Jan. 14-17 in Chicago. For 2019, the Summit was a combination of four events for farmers: Top Producer Seminar, Executive Women in Agriculture, Tomorrow’s Top Producer and the Legacy Project Conference. Farm Journal also hosted the second Trust In Food™ Symposium, a field-to-table roundtable about scaling conservation ag and fortifying consumer trust.

More than 1,100 participated in the Summit, which included 40 speakers covering topics such as commodity marketing, consumer trends, leadership, succession planning, federal policy and taxes. Producers, representing 4 million acres, came to Chicago from  33 states, Canada and Australia.

Jimmy Tosh and Sara Schafer

During the week, five outstanding farmers were honored. Jimmy Tosh of Tosh Farms in Henry, Tenn., was announced as the 2019 Top Producer of the Year, which is sponsored by BASF, Case IH and Rabo AgriFinance. Finalists for the award were Chris Adams of Adams Family Farms in Grand Forks, N.D., and Ron Rabou of Rabou Farms in Albin, Wyo.

The 2019 Tomorrow’s Top Producer Horizon award, which is sponsored by Pioneer, was given to Anthony Schwarck of Riceville, Iowa. New in 2019, the Executive Women in Agriculture Trailblazer award, which is sponsored by Corteva, honored a female producer who is an advocate for agriculture. The first-ever recipient was April Hemmes of Hampton, Iowa. 

Dan Rooney
“Inspiration without action is meaningless.”  

—Major Dan Rooney, fighter pilot, PGA Golf Professional and the founder of the Folds of Honor

Here are some of the Summit’s top takeaways:

7 Characteristics of Successful Farm Leaders

3 Transformational Food Movements

Time-Tested Collaborative Farming Advice

Working On Your Farm's Succession Plan? Write An Ethical Will.

Top Producer of the Year Winners
Past finalists and winners of the Top Producer of the Year award celebrate the 2019 winners in Chicago. In the back row (from left) are Albert Peterson, Tim Richter, Pat Duncanson, Marty Klinker, Kip Tom, Frank Howey, Roric Paulman, Roderick Gumz and Brian Mitchell. In the front row (from left) are Annie Dee, Julie Rabou, Ron Rabou, Steve Adams, Chris Adams, Jimmy Tosh, Alonna Tosh, Luke Brubaker, Cara Myers, Richard Gumz and Zach Bailey.


View photos from the 2019 Top Producer Summit at

Carey Lohrenz
“When you know your purpose and everyone is aligned, that’s the single biggest determinant of whether you’ll be successful—regardless of the environment.”  

—Carey Lohrenz, the Navy’s first female F-14 Tomcat fighter pilot 

Thank You To Our Sponsors

Platinum: BASF, Bayer, Case IH, Channel, Corteva, Fendt, Pioneer 
Gold: Beck’s Hybrids, John Deere, Rabo AgriFinance  
Silver: AgXplore, FMC, Growmark, Richiger, Syngenta, Top Third Ag Marketing, United Soybean Board, Valent 
Bronze: Claas, CliftonLarsonAllen, Conservis, Granular, K·Coe Isom, Lincoln Financial, Midwestern BioAg, Solinftec, Transition Point Business Advisors

Save the Date: 

Top Producer Summit: Jan 28-31, 2020 in Chicago

Download presentations from sessions at the 2019 Top Producer Summit at