Summit Schedule

Listen. Learn. Profit.
2019 Farm Futures Business Summit

January 24, 2019

7 AM–Noon – Registration, Coral Ballroom foyer

9 AM – How to profit from $3.50 corn 

In the age of low commodity prices, you can’t just throw money at crop inputs. From seed treatments to fertilizer those decisions must demonstrate proven ROI through higher yields and profit. How do farmers decide where and how to deploy input resources? We kick off the summit with a farmer panel who will share their crop budget decision-making process.  Sponsored by Poncho/VOTiVO 2.0

9:45 AM – Getting and keeping your financial house in order

Join us for an entertaining yet informative look at how to successfully navigate the sometimes tricky relationships between farmers and lenders. Ensure financing for your business with these key tips. Sponsored by Farmer Mac

10:30 AM – Managing risk during challenging markets

During this session farmer and grain market analyst Matt Bennett will share how to take the emotion out of grain marketing through the development of a strategy that will make profitable decision making easier during any condition. Sponsored by Channel Seed, Coral Ballroom

11:15 AM – What’s the future for young farmers? NewGen farmer panel

What does the future look like for young farmers? Join us for a panel discussion about the threats and opportunities faced by the next generation of farm managers. Sponsored by Pioneer

Noon – Lunch – sponsored by Pioneer, Oakdale Ballroom

1 PM – An insider’s view of agriculture’s most controversial issues – Gary Baise, ag lawyer and farmer, Coral Ballroom

Will the rise of fake meat hurt U.S. agriculture? Will junk science prevail in the current round of glyphosate lawsuits? Are the government’s Swampbuster rules fair to farmers? For years Gary Baise, a farmer and ag lawyer, has defended farmers and farm organizations against baseless lawsuits and regulations run amok. Baise, a member of the Trump ag transition team, will offer an inside outlook at the hottest, most controversial issues facing agriculture.

2 PM – Commercial farming and sustainability at a crossroads

Consumers demand more information on how food is produced. Retailers demand more sustainable practices from farmers. Can farmers adapt new practices to meet all these demands, yet remain profitable? How will the food chain reward farmers who respond to market signals? Learn what innovators are doing to gauge trends and develop new technologies to support farmers focused on a sustainable yet profitable future. Sponsored by Anuvia, Coral Ballroom

3 PM – Break, Coral Ballroom foyer

3:30 PM – Workshop: Maximize growth opportunities with the collaboration business model – Chris Barron, Coral Ballroom

As producers we collaborate at every level, from family, lenders, partners, investors, landowners, neighbors, suppliers, and various other forms of creative networking. Learn first-hand how farmers collaborate to solve some of their key issues in labor, future growth, business structure, financial analysis and cost control.

4:30 PM – Your role in the global food supply chain – Ken Eriksen, senior vice president, Informa, Coral Ballroom

Global population continues to expand, and with that, greater expansion of commodity and product consumption. Commercial farmers who work in this business model must be aware of the supply chain, how commodities get to market, and how freight influences market access. Join us for an in-depth discussion on your role in the global food chain.

5:45 PM  – Evening Reception, Oakdale Ballroom foyer

6:30 PM – Dinner, Oakdale Ballroom

Evening program – hosted by Willie Vogt, executive director, content and user engagement, Farm Progress


Farming the future: Will your farm business be disrupted?


What will farming look like five years from now? Three farmers from different regions offer their views on the future of their business. Learn how farmers view business challenges and turn obstacles into profitability, from three very different types of agriculture.

Trey Hill – How do farmers manage production near the Chesapeake Bay? Trey Hill is a Maryland farmer who consciously worked to become a champion environmentalist as he changed practices on his 10,000-acre grain farm. After working with researchers and conservationists, he set out to examine every farm practice and began to re-imagine the farm, adding no-till, cover crops and other practices. Today Hill’s Harborview Farms is a model for other operations – agronomically sound, profitable, and eco-friendly.

Paul Wenger – California agriculture is a $45 billion business. How do California farmers manage to produce at a high level despite drought, politics, regulation and consumer distrust? Wenger farms almonds and walnuts in Modesto and was named Agriculturalist of the Year by the California State Fair Board in 2018. He is the former California Farm Bureau president who will share his experiences as a leading advocate for the state’s agriculture sector. You’ll learn how farmers joined together to become ag-vocates for their businesses.

Dave Nelson – Nelson returned to the Fort Dodge, Iowa, family farm in 2007 and helped grow the business from 900 to 5,000 acres. Focusing on relationships, data analytics, variable rate apps and ROI helped Nelson’s family grow corn and soybean yields to number one in his county. The family also owns and operates Brokaw Supply, a fertilizer equipment dealership. Dave predicts that the future of farming lies in the ability to operate like a progressive business; the ability to operate on tight margins, being innovative, building relationships and networks, and being the lowest cost highest producer.

Jan. 25, 2019

7:30 – 8 AM – Breakfast, Oakdale Ballroom

8 AM – Taking Care of Business – Dave Kohl, Virginia Tech economist, Coral Ballroom

The economic reset in agriculture places a premium on farmers who take care of business. This session is designed to test your business IQ and contrast the best management characteristics of the top 40% of profitability compared to the bottom 30% of producers. Through Dr. Kohl’s lifelong experiences from academics to interaction with lenders, producers, agribusiness owners and policy makers, this straightforward session identifies the financial management and risk management factors that place the business in the upper echelon of profits and sustainability. Come energize your business thinking with some practical tips and techniques that stand the test of time.

9:30 AM – TBD, sponsored by Farmers Business Network, Coral Ballroom

10:15 AM – Break, Coral Ballroom foyer

10:30 AM – Breakouts

What we learned about business problem-solving through peer group networking (farmer panel) – Chris Barron, moderator, Coral Ballroom AB

Learn firsthand from producers engaged in peer group networking. Sharing business experience from one operation to the next can have immediate economic benefits. Come listen to producers that have been active in a peer group for more than 3 years as they explain in detail the benefits of sharing including production, business management, financial growth, family transition and succession, just to name a few. Learn how being a part of a network can help you overcome the many obstacles that arise along your business journey.

What we learned from analyzing our farm business with the DuPont Equation – John McNutt, presenter, Coral Ballroom DE

The DuPont Equation uses asset turnover, leverage and profit margins to calculate return on equity. Find out what a group of farms following a variety of strategies learned when had their individual components of the DuPont ratio benchmarked against each other. Bonus presentation: What does a farm miss when they only benchmark their cost performance against their own prior cost performance?

My Marketing Plan For 2019, Coral Ballroom C

Farm Futures’ Bryce Knorr lays out his plan for marketing 2019 crops, complete with selling targets, tools and strategies for making the best of whatever lies ahead. He’ll discuss how to handle boom or bust, and everything in between for making a profit on your production.

11:30 AM – Breakout Sessions

Ag trade in a *post-tariff world (cross your fingers) – Roger Bernard, presenter, Coral Ballroom AB

U.S. farm profits are driven in part by how much production we sell overseas. That profitability was severely tested in 2018 as the U.S. imposed tariffs on key farm customers, many of whom responded with retaliatory tariffs that caused negative price impacts for farmers. Where is ag trade headed in 2019? Can we recover those markets? What will trade prospects look like after potential shifts on Capitol Hill? Learn more from a leading U.S. authority on ag policy and trade.

Forego Growing Pains: How to Thrive as You Scale Up Your Farm – Tim Schaefer, presenter
When opportunity knocks, will you be ready? What are the pivotal points in the growth of a family farm? How do you work through growing pains? In this session you will learn strategies to scale up and professionalize the farm as a business.

  TBD, Coral Ballroom C

12:30 – Lunch, Oakdale Ballroom

1:30 PM – Grain market outlook: Is that light at the end of the tunnel, or an oncoming train? – Bryce Knorr, Farm Futures’ senior market analyst, Coral Ballroom

With big crops, surplus and trade issues, which way will grain markets head in 2019? One of the world’s leading authorities on grain markets will offer his insights on the most important fundamentals driving grain markets today. Put your marketing plan one step ahead by learning which factors to watch for potential game-changing developments.