The Bottom Line: Reach Your Profit Potential

January 6, 2012 10:02 PM

Moe Russell 2010We are experiencing exciting but volatile times in agriculture. Many opportunities will present themselves in the weeks and months ahead—the challenge is to be prepared to recognize and then profit from them. That’s where I come in, along with my new column.

I grew up on a diversified livestock and grain farm in Monticello, Iowa. My mother and I milked a herd of Jerseys before and after school, which is where I learned what little patience I have.

I recall having a not-so-gentle conversation with one cow when my father walked by the barn and said: "Every cow in here is a lady. I want you to treat them like one!" Good lesson.

I have five brothers and no sisters. Today, one of my brothers is a farmer, two are bankers and two are engineers.

My nephews operate the family farm, where we grow corn and finish 35,000 hogs annually for Maschhoff Farms.

After graduating from Iowa State University in 1971 with a degree in ag business, I spent 26 years with Farm Credit Services, which was a great experience. When I left the company, I was managing its 83 offices in Iowa, South Dakota, Nebraska and Wyoming.

One of my lifelong goals was to have an MBA by age 50. So when I turned 48, I did the math and enrolled in a two-year executive MBA program at the University of Nebraska in Omaha. That was one of the best decisions I have ever made. My father always placed great emphasis on education, saying it is something that no one can take away from you.

In 1992, three years after the fall of the Berlin Wall, I met a young gentlemen in Prague, Czechoslovakia. When he was 12 years old, the communists took over his family’s dairy farm. After the country became free, he made great progress to re-establish the farm—but it took more than 40 years to get his family’s property back. Living in a free-enterprise society, we don’t appreciate our freedoms until we meet someone who experienced the opposite.

Thirteen years ago, Terry Jones and I started Russell Consulting Group. I have learned a great deal from Terry and the consultants who form our brain trust. We provide fee-based financial and marketing assistance to farmers and ranchers throughout North America. We sell nothing. Our only interest is helping our clients maximize their bottom line. Many of our clients are multigenerational family farmers who are a pleasure to work with.

I speak at approximately 35 events a year and look forward to meeting many of you in the future. In the meantime, please send me your questions and concerns via e-mail to


Moe Russell is president of Russell Consulting Group in Panora, Iowa. He provides risk management advice to clients in 34 states and Canada. For more risk management tips, visit his website at To submit questions, call (877) 333-6135 or


ProfitCollege thumbTake Your Operation to the Next Level

Farm Journal Profit College is an exciting new event that builds on the success of the Farm Journal College events, the expertise of Farm Journal Economist Bob Utterback and the experience of Farm Journal’s new columnist, Moe Russell. Farm Journal Profit College delivers practical tips and tools to maximize crop and animal production profitability.

Learn more and register today!

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