Learn management skills, discuss industry issues at workshop

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From positioning your operation for growth and how to manage leadership transitions to developing an on-farm research program and using spreadsheet tools to make better decisions, farmers can learn applicable management practices and discuss the latest industry issues at the 45th Annual Top Farmer Crop Workshop, set for July 9-11, 2012, on the Purdue University campus in West Lafayette, Ind.

Held in partnership with the University of Illinois, this year’s workshop includes 20 sessions offering insights from 16 university experts, seven industry speakers and 10 farmers.

“The Top Farmer workshop has long been known as the ‘go to’ place for cutting-edge information on farm production and business topics,” says Scott Irwin, University of Illinois agricultural economist and leader of the farmdoc project. “We are very excited to be a partner in bringing this year’s workshop to farmers. The schedule is chock full of speakers at the top of their respective fields.”

James McCandless, head of global real estate, farmland, at UBS AgriVest LLC, will discuss market trends and where he sees the market going in terms of prices and rental agreements. In addition, Don Orr, president of JBS United, a company with substantial business in China, will share insights on the Chinese market and the implications for U.S. agricultural exports. Participants will also engage with Todd Davis, senior economist at American Farm Bureau, and learn the latest Farm Bill news from Washington.

Production-related sessions during the workshop will feature topics such as dealing with uncertainty in input markets, especially fertilizer; managing herbicide resistance; enhancing soybean yields; and building an on-farm research program.

“Farmers want to experiment within their production conditions, and more of them are establishing their own research programs,” says Brent Gloy, director of Purdue’s Center for Commercial Agriculture as well as one of the workshop’s presenters. “We want to help them learn how to do it in a scientifically sound manner.”

By attending the Top Farmer Crop Workshop, farmers can evaluate their operation from a business standpoint and explore ways to improve their farm through better management. The event provides an environment where farmers can surround themselves with farm management experts and other leading producers.

“It’s about increasing their knowledge and giving them insights on how to improve their farm business,” Gloy says. “Sometimes, those insights may come from the person standing in front of the classroom, and other times, they surface from a hallway conversation with a fellow producer afterward.”

For complete information about the 45th Top Farmer Crop Workshop, including the agenda, list of speakers and registration, visit http://www.agecon.purdue.edu/commercialag/progevents/topfarmer.html . Registration is limited to the first 150 participants.

The Center for Commercial Agriculture, housed within the Department of Agricultural Economics at Purdue University, consists of professionals and faculty dedicated to producing knowledge for the farmers leading production agriculture. You can examine faculty research, find information about upcoming programs and learn how the center is creating educational opportunities for the students who will manage the farms and agribusinesses of the future at http://www.agecon.purdue.edu/commercialag


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