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January 25, 2017 02:58 AM

Leverage peer groups to bolster management skills

One of the biggest benefits Iowa producer Luke Stamp gains from his peer group is access to a near-instant sounding board for business questions. He interacts with fellow farmers during online presentations from ag business experts and also via text message throughout the week.

“I feel like I’m getting very true information,” says Stamp, 29, who grows corn and soybeans with his dad, mom and twin brother in the southwest Iowa town of Persia. “It’s not a survey. It’s not a message board. These guys care about my family’s operation, and they care about me growing professionally.”

Top operators continually seek out opportunities to gain an edge in their businesses. That’s particularly true in an ag environment where prices are leading some farmers to hang up their hats, enabling larger operations to grow their businesses. 


“Going into a peer group and trying to have an open mind was hugely beneficial because on that first day, everyone just clicked,” says Kyle Morrow, 28, a producer in Lowell, Ind., who grows corn, soybeans, wheat and alfalfa. 

Both Morrow and Stamp are part of an online peer group totaling seven young operators that is the newest format offered by Farm Journal’s Top Producer Executive Network (TPEN) program. 

Stamp’s family encouraged him to join the group. During interactive webinars, he has dialogued with fellow producers and experts such as Jill Eberhart, principal at K•Coe Isom; former Top Producer of the Year finalist Dave Nelson of Iowa; and Michelle Painchaud, CEO of Painchaud Performance Group. 

A peer group is a valuable place for Stamp to learn about critical business topics because it involves farmers who aren’t competitive within his geographical location.

The greatest long-term value of a peer group is being able to acquire new knowledge and apply it to the farm. “Changing the way we do things on the farm now, based upon our meetings, is going to impact the farm and myself down the road,” Morrow says.

To learn more about peer groups such as Farm Journal’s Top Producer Executive Network (TPEN) program, contact member services director Lindsey Young at (217) 498-1278 or at lyoung@farmjournal.com.

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