Farmers “Think Outside the Farm” at Top Producer Seminar

March 8, 2013 08:30 PM
Farmers “Think Outside the Farm” at Top Producer Seminar

More than 850 of the nation’s top producers were challenged to shake off preconceived notions and brainstorm what the future of agriculture could hold at the 2013 Top Producer Seminar in late January. This year’s seminar theme, "Think Outside the Farm," attracted producers from 29 states and featured more than 40 educational sessions to help producers hone their money, marketing and management skills and deal with today’s volatile farm economy.

"Coming off a terrible drought year, producers need to be thinking outside their normal mentality to manage risk and improve their operations," says Top Producer Editor Jeanne Bernick. "With the cream of the crop in agriculture attending our event, we worked hard to provide high-level
information and take-home value."

Hot topics included market outlooks, business pointers, policy updates, drought implications and how to communicate with multiple generations.

Keynote addresses were given by Steven Levitt, University of Chicago economist and author of "Freakonomics" and "SuperFreakonomics," and Larry Brudnicki, captain of the Coast Guard ship that performed dramatic rescues during the storm that became known as The Perfect Storm and inspired the book and movie.

Brent Gloy, ag economist and director of Purdue’s Center for Commercial Agriculture, provided an outlook on farmland values. He urged farmers to avoid buying farmland on credit, since that is what led to the farmland bust of the 1980s. He also advised against buying farmland "just because everyone else is doing it." That’s the psychology that led to the housing busts.

In addition to Top Producer Seminar, the fifth annual Tomorrow’s Top Producer program hosted 138 of the nation’s brightest young producers. The program is designed to introduce farmers under the age of 35 to the business of farming. This year, Tomorrow’s Top Producer hosted a tour for 30 young farmers to the Chicago Board of Trade.

Attendees learned more about marketing basics, how to use smartphones on their farms, as well as life lessons from successful producers.

The 2014 Tomorrow’s Top Producer program and Top Producer Seminar will be held Jan. 28-31.

Award-Winning Farmers

TP of the year

Luke Brubaker, of Mt. Joy, Pa., was named the 2013 Top Producer of the Year. Brubaker, third from left, operates a 950-cow dairy, raises broilers and farms more than 1,000 acres with his wife, Barb, and sons, Tony and Mike. His prize package includes the use of a new Challenger tractor for 200 hours or six months and trips to the Top Producer Seminar and the Cereals Show in the United Kingdom. Brubaker is pictured with, from left, Challenger’s Greg Kirksey and Top Producer’s Steve Custer and Jeanne Bernick.


TP Horizon Award

Joanna Carraway, center, received the 2013 Tomorrow’s Top Producer Horizon Award, an honor that recognizes an outstanding producer under the age of 35. Carraway is responsible for record keeping, financial goals and employee relations for her multi-generation crop operation in Murray, Ky. As the Horizon Award winner, Carraway receives trips to the Tomorrow’s Top Producer conference and the Cereals Show in the United Kingdom. She is pictured with, from left, Top Producer’s Jeanne Bernick; husband, Craig Carraway; SFP’s Reggie Underwood and Top Producer’s Sara Schafer.

For additional event coverage and to download presentations, visit

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