The Top Producer of the Year contest is in its 18th year and represents the best in the business of farming.
The Top Producer of the Year contest is in its 18th year and represents the best in the business of farming.

Three accomplished and diverse farming operations will compete for the prestigious Top Producer of the Year award at the 2017 Top Producer Seminar happening Jan. 24-27 in Chicago. The annual award given by Top Producer magazine recognizes producers whose excellence in business can teach industry peers about value-added ventures, succession plans, overcoming adversity and more.

Sponsored by Bayer and Case IH, the Top Producer of the Year contest is in its 18th year and represents the best in the business of farming. The winner will be announced Wednesday, Jan. 25 during the annual Top Producer of the Year banquet. The finalists are:

  • Chalmers and Lori Anne Carr of Titan Farms, a grower, packer and processer of fruits and vegetables in Ridge Spring, S.C.
  • John Pagel of Pagel’s Ponderosa Dairy, a dairy and grain operation in Kewaunee, Wis.
  • Richard and Roderick Gumz of Gumz Farms, a row crop and vegetable operation in Endeavor, Wis.

Judging criteria are entrepreneurial originality (50%); financial and business progress (30%); and industry or community leadership (20%).

Each of the finalists will receive a trip for two to attend the seminar and sessions with a CEO coach and the winner will receive the opportunity to be enrolled for a year in the Top Producer Executive Network™ peer group program, courtesy of Bayer. Additionally, the winner will get to choose either a Steiger Rowtrac or a Magnum Rowtrac from Case IH for 150 hours of use, courtesy of Case IH.

Top Producer Seminar will feature nearly 30 experts who will challenge farmer-attendees to arm their operation for future successes.

“At the 2017 Top Producer Seminar, we’re featuring a top-notch group of experts who will provide key insights and tactical advice on risk management, human resources, succession planning, consumer trends and more,” says Sara Schafer, Top Producer editor. “Attendees will leave with a to-do list of how they can take their operation to the next level in 2017 and beyond.”

The 2017 theme, “Keep Calm, Farm On: Controlling Chaos in Uncertainty,” will remind farmers to look forward. Agenda highlights include presentations such as:

  • Transformational (Change) Management -- Jim Craig, Olympic Gold Medalist Goalie, 1980 USA “Miracle on Ice” Hockey Team
  • The Future of GMO Labeling: What it Means to You -- Kelly Johnston, Campbell Soup Company
  • Contented Cows Give Better Milk: Your People…Your Profit -- Richard Hadden, author and human resources expert
  • The New Reality of the Global Grain Marketplace -- Jerry Gulke, The Gulke Group
  • Straight Talk, Straight Actions: Agriculture in a Changing Economy -- David Kohl, Virginia Tech and AgriVisions
  • Farmland Investors: The Emerging Disruptor -- Paul Pittman, Farmland Partners
  • How President Trump Will Affect Your Farm -- Jim Wiesemeyer, Informa Economics
  • Does Your Business Strategy Keep You Calm? -- Allan Gray, Purdue University

This year’s conference includes an exclusive bonus offering for attendees, who can enroll in a special three-hour risk management workshop on Tuesday, Jan. 24. Experts Mark Gold of Top Third Ag Marketing, Peter Martin of K•Coe Isom and Nick Stokes of Rabobank will help attendees identify the best tools they can use to manage risk and discover revenue potential locked inside their operations.

In 2016, Top Producer Seminar attracted more than 900 attendees, including 610 of the nation’s largest producers from 26 states.

Additionally, Top Producer is pleased to announce that its two-day Tomorrow’s Top Producer business conference for farmers 40 and under will return to Nashville this summer for a second straight year. Attendees overwhelmingly voted to come back to the Music City after a successful relaunch of the event this past summer.

The event runs July 20-21, 2017, at the Loews Vanderbilt Hotel. Producers are encouraged to bring their families, who can enjoy the Nashville area’s many attractions, while hearing solid speakers discuss business, marketing, succession planning and risk management. Learn more and register at www.TopProducerSeminar.com