WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. — Corn Belt farmers and agribusiness
managers can learn strategies to adapt to a changing business environment July
15-16 at Purdue University’s annual Top Farmer Conference.
Purdue and University of Illinois farm management experts
will help participants look at their operations from a business standpoint — and
analyze their economic opportunities and challenges.
“Midwest agriculture experienced an unprecedented boom from
the mid-2000s through 2013, but margins in the crop sector could tighten
significantly over the next several years,” said James Mintert, Purdue
agricultural economist and director of the Center for Commercial Agriculture,
which hosts the conference. “We developed the sessions with that in mind. We
want participants to focus on key decisions farmers will be making in this new
The conference will be at Purdue’s Beck Agricultural Center,
4540 U.S. 52, West Lafayette. The workshop begins at 8:30 a.m. July 15 and
concludes at 3 p.m. July 16.
Top Farmer features two days of educational programming and
opportunities for those attending to network with their peers and speakers.
Several sessions will deal with crop prices, which are expected to be lower in
2014, and management strategies to adapt to the changing agricultural
Participants also will learn how the 2014 farm bill will
affect them, find out what’s ahead for farmland values and rental rates and
identify key financial measures to monitor their farms’ financial health.
A session focused on putting Big Data to work on the farm
will be a key feature of the conference, using actual farm precision data to see
how productivity and profitability can be improved.
Jason Henderson, director of Purdue Extension and professor
of agricultural economics, will give the keynote address, “Macroeconomic
Outlook: What It Means for U.S. Agriculture.”
A longtime observer of the agricultural economy, Henderson
served as vice president of the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City and was one
of the primary developers of the Federal Reserve System’s Agricultural Finance
Databook before joining the Purdue faculty in 2013.
“Top Farmer provides information to make better decisions
and build a more profitable enterprise,” he said.
U.S. farms use borrowed capital extensively, and an increase
in interest rates could change profit margins for producers and present
challenges for U.S. agriculture, Henderson said.
His presentation will examine the key drivers of U.S.
interest rates and help prepare attendees for changes in the years ahead.
In addition to the presentations, the conference is the
opportunity for farmers to get together in small groups and discuss issues.
“A lot of interaction and learning takes places in these
groups,” Henderson said.
Certified Crop Advisers who attend the conference can earn
continuing education units. For more information, including registration and
hotel accommodations, visit
Registration costs $275 for those who sign up by June 30 and
use the code EARLYFARMER14. After June 30, registration costs $325. Advance
registration is required.