Making the Best Better: Why Peer Groups Work

December 7, 2015 09:25 AM

Why peer advisory groups work

Top Producer SeminarPrograms such as The Executive Program for Agricultural Producers (TEPAP) and the Top Producer Seminar offer excellent venues for continuing education, exposure to new ideas and issues, and opportunities to network. However, they cannot provide the final step in continuous management improvement.

Peer advisory groups can work through the issues related to implementation and follow-through, addressing problems and opportunities as they arise to help members effect change. Essentially, a peer advisory group acts as a reciprocal advisory board made up of top producers with skin in the game.

A peer advisory group includes five to 10 top producers who are not direct competitors and are willing to share what they know to fill in the knowledge gaps of others in the group. To be successful, peer groups require openness, confidentiality and mutual respect for one another’s ideas and opinions, even if members don’t agree. The value occurs precisely because everyone doesn’t see things the same or think alike.

In Argentina, more than 200 peer groups (known as AACREA) made up of the top farmers in the country have been flourishing for 50 years. There are successful farmer peer groups in the U.S., but it’s time more producers get in the game. With increasing volatility in input and output markets and the speed at which things are changing, the time to address problems and capitalize on opportunities is shrinking.

Row crop agriculture has been on an unprecedented run for nearly eight years. When we do experience a significant downturn—and we will—there will be a shakeout and further consolidation. The winners will be the best strategic managers.

Danny Klinefelter is an ag economist with Texas A&M and director of The Executive Program for Agricultural Producers (TEPAP).


Interested in Joining a Peer Group?

Farm Journal’s Top Producer Executive Network™ (TPEN) is a strategic executive-level peer group program that provides producers with new, vital perspective from a brain trust of participants working together for the benefit of each operation.  The program facilitates group teamwork to identify effective ways to solve today’s farming operation challenge, generates executable ideas and provides accountability expectations for each member.  For more information, contact Lindsey Young or 888-605-7138.

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