Summit Schedule

Vision 2020: Clear Insights for a Profitable Future



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Jan. 23, 2020

7 a.m.: Registration

8 a.m.: How to profit from 2020 grain markets - Matt Bennett, Channel  grain market adviser

This session takes a closer look at current market dynamics and how to manage the risk they present.  As we navigate 2020, grain market analyst Matt Bennett looks at some of the ways producers can improve marketing, with a calculated goal to maximize profits. Sponsored by Channel 

8:45 a.m.: Panel: Hitting pay dirt with soil health ROI - Ben Hushon, The Mill; Bruce Knight, Strategic Conservations Solutions, LLC; Hugh MacGillivray, Anuvia Plant Nutrients; moderator: Willie Vogt, Farm Progress

Soil health is a hot topic. There’s a lot of talk on how to improve soil health but how do these efforts improve a farmer’s return on investment? This panel will address new technologies, production tools and initiatives that can help you achieve a better ROI while improving soil health. Sponsored by Anuvia Plant Nutrients

9:30 a.m.: Break

10 a.m.: What separates the best from the rest? - Curt Covington, executive vice president, FarmerMac

Covington, Farmer Mac’s Chief Credit Officer and a career ag banker, has seen and heard it all during his 40 years in the business.  During this session he will share the key success factors he has identified that separate top farm operations from the rest of the herd, even in today’s challenging ag economy. Sponsored by FarmerMac

10:45 a.m.: Millennials grow up: How next gen operators transition to farm leadership - Panel: Drew DeSutter; Elyssa McFarland; Chad Rockow; Kirk Berry

Trade wars, weather woes, thin margins: How is the next generation coping? A panel discussion will offer a closer look at the business skills and values of younger operators as they move into senior management roles on the farm. Panel moderated by Willie Vogt. Sponsored by Pioneer

12 p.m.: Lunch, sponsored by Pioneer

1 p.m.: KEYNOTE: The U.S. economy: The facts behind the numbers - Barry Flinchbaugh, Kansas State ag economist

The growth rate of the economy is average at best. Are we headed for a recession? Is slow growth caused by trade wars - and who is winning?  Farm income has been cut in half; Can government payments fill the gap? Will the performance of the economy favor incumbents or the opposition? Will the so-called farm vote count? Professor Flinchbaugh will address these questions in his usual blunt and direct fashion. This is serious stuff so he will add his brand of humor to lighten the load.

2 p.m.: Moneyball seed - How data, analytics and new breeding models are changing the future of seed ROI for farmers - Ron Wulfkuhle, Head of Seed, Farmers Business Network

For decades the input industry has pressed the mantra of yield, yield, yield.  But is yield truly the most important objective for farmers, or is profit potential?  When you shift to thinking profit instead of yield, what do you need to pay attention to?  Outcome based thinking is essence of the concept of Moneyball.  How can Moneyball be brought to bear in seed? Sponsored by Farmers Business Network

2:45 p.m.: Break

3:15 p.m.: Data-driven on-farm financial decision making - Chris Barron

Iowa farmer and consultant Chris Barron will discuss details necessary for identifying the most important data points in order to make better business decisions. Some of the components include; the business vision, business structure, cost of production details, equipment utilization and efficiency, marketing principles, succession, and transition decisions. Sponsored by Farmer Mutual Hail

4:15 p.m.: Creating profit from chaos - Dave Fogel, vice president, Advanced Trading, Inc.

Savvy grain marketing can impact your farm operation profitability more than any other single thing you do. The rougher the farm economy, the higher the financial and emotional toll on the farmer. Under these current chaotic marketing conditions, practical and profitable sales of grain have taken on a new level of importance. In this session, farmers will learn about effective coping mechanisms and tools they can use to survive in today’s volatile marketing environment. Sponsored by Advanced Trading, Inc.

6 p.m.: Cash bar

7 p.m.: Dinner, sponsored by Farm Credit

7:30 p.m.: Brazilian farming up close: A panel discussion with your greatest competitors - Guilherme Scheffer, Felipe Schneider, Eduardo de Bortoli, Gabriela Nichel, Lúcio Feijó Lopes, and Bruce Rastetter

The U.S. trade war with China shines a global spotlight on South American commodity production. What’s it like to manage a Brazilian farm operation? We’ll hear from Brazilian farmers and farmland investors as they discuss their greatest business challenges and opportunities. Moderated by Max Armstrong, host, This Week in Agribusiness


Jan. 24, 2020

6:30 a.m.: Breakfast

8 a.m.: KEYNOTE: Economic mega trends: Kicking off the new decade - David Kohl

American agriculture is influenced by talk and tweets from global leaders creating volatility and uncertainty around every corner. There will be more change in the next decade than the past 70 years.  Consumers, technology, new management and culture shifts will require those in the agriculture industry to focus on business fundamentals, and a proactive management skill set. Dr. Dave will provide insight from his travels and engagements with individuals from the board room to the front lines.  He will also discuss five tools of the times to navigate your business in the next decade.

9:15 a.m.: It's time to think differently about herbicide-resistant weeds - Darren Unland, Bryan Young, Brad Wade

Herbicide-resistant pigweed is a growing economic issue across the U.S., but there are ways to keep it from becoming a larger problem. This starts with a change in mindset from controlling pigweed to eradicating pigweed. This panel discussion will share how a balanced approach of cultural and mechanical practices, chemical control and eradication diligence can help your operation maintain clean fields. Sponsored by BASF

10 a.m.:

  • Track 1: Tools for a better marketing plan - Matt Bennett
    Illinois farmer and grain market analyst Matt Bennett takes a look at the tools needed to identify break-even levels and how to use that information in your marketing plan.  Get an inside look at how a professional grain market analyst puts together a marketing plan with incremental sales at profitable levels, and how to stay flexible in how that plan is executed. 
  • Track 2: Managing margins for business growth - Chris Barron
    Crunch the numbers and take action. Chris will discuss how to assemble the most important data set and how to take action on your decision-making through a disciplined approach. This discussion will be more of a deep dive on implementing and executing your plan for success.
  • Track 3: Elections loom as policy & politics reshape global trade - Roger Bernard 
    Voters head to the polls in the fall with a lot of attention focused on rural America, where trade policy is one of the important influences. And the Trump administration has made good on their pledge to reshape global trade, creating plenty of discussion and debate on how it will shape the 2020 balloting.

11 a.m.:

  • Track 4: How to build trust between farm team members - Tim Schaefer
    Farmers and family members who work together in a business often fear "healthy conflict" and don't know how to build trust between each other. In this session management coach Tim Schaefer will teach you how to strengthen your farm team, work through conflict, boost commitment, build accountability, and focus attention on results. 
  • Track 5: Putting ag tech to work - Jeremy Groeteke, Pioneer Digital Ag Lead; Steve Pitstick, Illinois farmer; Scott Henry, Iowa farmer; Willie Vogt, moderator
    Billions of dollars are being pumped into new ideas for the farm - but what about the farmer? Will these new tools offer ROI and change farming in the near- and long-term? Explore that idea in this special breakout that looks at the farm-business side of the ag startup revolution. 
  • Track 6: Trade developments and impacts to global logistics - Ken Eriksen
    What flow patterns will emerge, and how will logistics be impacted?


12 p.m., Lunch, sponsored by PNC Bank

Hemp, health, and natural products: A glimpse of future game-changing consumer trends -  Carlotta Mast, Senior VP of Content and Insights, New Hope Network, Informa

With 20 years of experience, Carlotta has her finger on the pulse of new health, wellness and natural product trends and the forces shaping consumer attitudes and behaviors. Discover the consumer and retail food trends that will impact how and what we grow.