, Top Producer Business & Crops Online Editor
Congratulations to Lon Frahm, a farmer from Colby, Kan. He was named the 2009 Top Producer of the Year during the Top Producer Seminar in Chicago, Ill.
The official Top Producer of the Year ceremony (as presented by Greg Vincent, Top Producer Editor):
Let's head to the Kansas high plains where Lon Frahm is the sixth generation to manage Frahm Farmland.
Lon, an accomplished pianist and tenor soloist, armed with a business degree from Kansas State University, he has succeeded at the last thing he ever wanted to do when he was a child. In fact, he was devastated – angry and insulted actually – when he received the results of his high school aptitude test. The career best suited for him: farmer.
This 2009 Top Producer of the Year finalist has willingly persevered and he's done that very well. He's built his family farm into a multi-million dollar business in the small town of Colby, Kan., by keeping a close eye on business details. Without question, Lon Frahm is the epitome of a top producer, but he stands out for superior management of employees, whom he credits for much of his success. Though none of his direct family members are involved in the operation on a daily basis, Frahm Farmland's employees are very much part of this family business.
Frahm keeps no secrets from his employees, which surprises many people in this small town and runs against conventional thinking of many in farm country. "I share my financials with all the employees,” Frahm says. "I don't show the actual tax returns, but everything else they know. It creates a lot of engagement and gives them a sense of ownership they wouldn't have otherwise. I think it's a great way to do business. Keeping secrets is a lot of work.”
Business responsibility is very important to Frahm and something he learned at this young age of 28 when his father died of a heart attack. As the oldest of three children, Frahm was charged with keeping the farm together and providing financial security for his mother and two siblings. No small task considering this happened right in the middle of the 1980s farm crisis. Today, his brother and sister are partners in the business, but Frahm is the on-site manager of the farm that has been in their family for six generations.
So, Lon, I believe your grandfathers are extremely proud.
Listen in as Frahm describes the honor of winning the award: