Focus On Management

February 24, 2016 02:43 AM

Farmers gain business intelligence in Chicago

Today’s uncertain times call for a renewed focus on long-term strategies and smart decisions.  That was a clear theme of the 2016 Top Producer Seminar, which happened Jan. 27-29 in Chicago. 


Nearly 35 speakers offered views on the current environment. But instead of dwelling on what farmers can’t control, they shared how farmers can be successful regardless of which way the markets move.  

Smart Decisions. To prepare for volatility and manage risk, farmers should employ three basic management skills, says Curt Covington, senior vice president of agricultural finance at Farmer Mac. Those core competencies are:

  • A focus on planning
  • Good control practices that enable you to adapt plans
  • Smart and calculated decisions

“Really ineffective managers spend 60% of their time doing the doing, instead of delegating,” says Covington, who is a 37-year veteran of the ag banking industry. “Then they spend 30% of their time negotiating and only 10% of time making decisions. Good managers do the reverse and spend 60% of their time on vital and strategic decisions about the business.”

With a theme of “Cultivate Every Opportunity,” the 2016 seminar attracted more than 1,000 attendees, including 600 of the nation’s largest producers, representing about 4 million acres. Producers came to Chicago from 26 states, Canada and Morocco to learn during more than 30 educational sessions.

Seek Opportunities. At the annual seminar banquet, Donald and Cheri De Jong of Hartley, Texas, were named the 2016 winners of the Top Producer of the Year award. Also honored as finalists were father-daughter team Ron and Zoey Brooks of Brooks Farms in Waupaca, Wis., and Annie Dee of Dee River Ranch in Aliceville, Ala.

Up next, the Tomorrow’s Top Producer event for young farmers will be held June 16-17 in Nashville. 

To register or to download select Top Producer Seminar presentations, visit Mark your calendar now for the next Top Producer Seminar, happening Jan. 25-27, 2017. 

Thank You to Our Sponsors

Premier Sponsors: Advance Trading, Inc., Agrium, BASF, Bayer, Cargill, Case IH, Channel, CropZilla, Dow AgroSciences, DuPont Pioneer, Farmers Business Network, Farmers Edge, Firestone, Granular, John Deere, K·COE ISOM, MAVRX, New Holland, O&B Barnstorm,, Top Third Ag Marketing and Verdesian 
Co-Sponsors: Agro-Liquid, CliftonLarsonAllen, Conservis, Gavilon and Gulke Group
Supporting Sponsors: T-L Irrigation and Transition Point Business Advisors

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