Meet the 2015 Tomorrow's Top Producer Horizon Award Winner

January 20, 2015 06:30 PM
Tomorrow's Top Producer Horizon Award Winner

The 2015 Horizon Award winner is a true business man, who happens to love farming. In 2005, Matt Sims left a corporate job to join his step-dad, Mark, as a hired hand on the family farm. He worked for just over minimum wage and became committed to making the 77-year-old family operation more profitable and efficient.

To do so, Sims and his step-dad started dividing roles so each could focus on their strengths. Today Sims serves as the general manager of State Line Farms, a corn and soybean operation in Illinois and Indiana. Sims heads up all business aspects of the farm, while Mark served as operations managers.

Since 2007, State Line Farms has grown its acreage base 18% each year. Today the operation includes 4,600 acres of mostly rented ground. This impressive growth is due to Sims' constant calculations of cost of production, asset allocation and profit levels. He’s also a natural networker and has made numerous connections with local farmers, farm managers, bankers, attorneys and real estate agents. Since Sims farms in such a competitive area, relationships with these contacts are vital.  

Sims works with a core team of advisors who help him make good business decisions. He sets weekly, monthly and long-term goals with everyone involved in the operation, which includes his step-dad and two employees. By being strategic about everyone’s roles, Mark, Sims' step-dad, is now transitioning into retirement.

As both of his references said, Sims doesn’t believe in the get big or go home mantra. Instead he believes in get better or go home. He understands he started farming during a profitable time and has bulletproofed his balance sheet to be ready to take advantage of opportunities as the farm economy swings.

Sims and his wife, Stacey, have a four-year-old son named Cooper. You’ll be able to read more about Sims in the March issue of Top Producer.


About the Horizon Award

The Tomorrow’s Top Producer Horizon Award recognizes a producer, under the age of 35, who demonstrates excellence in the business of farming. This includes marketing, farm finance, technology, as well as family and employee relations.  

The winner of this award had expenses paid to spend today with us. The winner will also get to spend two days with a Top Producer of the Year for one-one-one mentoring. In addition, the winner will receive complimentary registration to a future Farm Journal Media event of choice. 

Sims is the fourth winner of this prestigious award. He joins last year’s winner, Jeremy Weaver of Needham, Ind., the 2013 winner Joanna Carraway of Murray, Ky. and the 2012 winner, Michael Daniels of Salem, Wis.


For more information on the Top Producer Seminar or Tomorrow’s Top Producer events, visit



Thank you to the 2015 Tomorrow’s Top Producer sponsors:
Bayer CropScience, Case IH, Conservis


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