Like the chief executive officer of any corporation, an agricultural business/farmer CEO is a manager and visionary for their agricultural enterprise, said Heather Gessner, SDSU Extension livestock business management field specialist.

A program that focuses on teaching beginning farmers to use a systems approach to farm business planning is being taught in South Dakota.

The Growing Ag CEO’s program from all the information provided looks like one good for other agricultural focus states to offer for beginning or even seasoned farmers. Agricultural retailers and crop consultants should feel more comfortable working with a grower who has completed training for short-term and long-term planning, which would include income and expense calculations.

Growing Ag CEO's will be held statewide in 2013 with locations in five in South Dakota—Aberdeen, Watertown, Alcester, Winner, Eagle Butte and Belle Fourche.

The Extension's Growing Ag CEO's program will be held on four to five consecutive evenings depending on the location and the topics presented during the sessions. Sessions run from 5:30 p.m. to 8 p.m.; allowing those with an additional job to participate during the evening.

"Ag CEO's is a program geared toward beginning farmers," said Gessner, a program organizer. "This group of producers is being charged with feeding 9 billion people by the year 2050. With the changes to agriculture during the past 20-40 years, their skill set needs to change in order to accomplish that goal and remain a viable and sustainable operation."

This Extension program will address these changes the general topics for the sessions include: farm vision, resource inventory and management (family, land, crops, and livestock), and financial record creation, budgets development and analysis and production topics (personalized to the group).

For South Dakota farmers, more date and location information can be found online at