Bigger Isn’t Necessarily Better

Published on: 15:58PM Jan 13, 2009
Last week at the annual TEPAP (The Executive Program for Agricultural Producers) meeting in Austin, Texas, renowned ag economist Dave Kohl said farmers need to think about getting better before they get bigger. Exactly.
So do you farm enough ground to go to the Top Producer Seminar? Moot question. The question is: “Do I want to run a better business and interact with some of the best minds in agriculture?” If you want to do that, then yes, you farm enough ground to come to the Top Producer Seminar.
Yes, we do attract several large growers (including many who farm more than 20,000 acres), but we also have several attendees who farm 1,000 acres or less. The point we try to take with the program is this: how much you farm doesn’t matter, how you run your business does. The thing I think you’ll find though, is even these really big guys are there to learn and they are also eager to help learn however they can.
The average attendee last year farmed just less than 4,000 acres of mostly corn and soybeans. We had a farmer turnout of more than 400 producers last year, and a total registration of 524. We’re on track to top 500 attendees again this year.
First is on Tuesday, Jan. 20 we are launching our Young Farmer Program that is designed specifically for farmers like him who may be looking to step up their management prowess.
The program will introduce young, progressive farmers to business thinking and principles. We’ve worked closely with Dick Wittman, an Idaho farmer and former president of the Farm Financial Standards Council to develop the program. Dick will talk about getting a passing grade in farm management.
Attendees also will hear from some excellent role models, former and current finalists for Top Producer of the Year. 2006 winner Chad Olsen of Olsen Custom Farms, 2008 Finalist Rob Barley from Star Rock Farms and 2009 finalist Lon Frahm of Frahm Farmland will share some of their secrets to success. Other speakers will explore situations with generational transfer, how to evaluate capital investment opportunities and how to build producer networks.