Drive 2020: Lessons from Top Producer Summit

Farmers connect, learn and share ideas in Chicago at the 2020 Top Producer Summit. ( Lindsey Robinson, Top Producer )

Farmers connect, learn and share ideas in Chicago 

Producers and agricultural professionals gathered for education and networking at Top Producer Summit, which took place Jan. 27–30 in Chicago. For 2020, the Summit was a combination of five events for farmers: Top Producer Seminar, Executive Women in Agriculture, Tomorrow’s Top Producer, Hemp College and the Legacy Conference. 

Farm Journal also hosted the third Trust In Food Symposium, an initiative of Farm Journal that works to restore consumer trust in the U.S. food system by empowering farmers to enrich soils, protect water and air quality and nurture habitats.

More than 900 participated in the Summit, which included 40 speakers covering topics such as commodity marketing, consumer trends, leadership, succession planning, federal policy and taxes. Producers, representing 4 million acres, came to Chicago from 35 states and Canada.

Award-Winning Farmers

During the week, five outstanding farmers were honored. Kristjan Hebert of Hebert Grain Ventures in Moosomin, Saskatchewan, was announced as the 2020 Top Producer of the Year, which is sponsored by BASF, Case IH and Rabo AgriFinance. Finalists for the award were Becky Meeuwsen Berger of Berger International in Hillsboro, Ore., and Sam Ross of Ross Planting Company in Pioneer, La. 

2020 TPOY class

The Tomorrow’s Top Producer Horizon award, which is sponsored by Pioneer, was given to Chase Dewitz of Steele, N.D. 


Chase and Erin Dewitz

The Executive Women in Agriculture Trailblazer Award, which is sponsored by Corteva, was given to Shelly Boshart Davis and Macey Wessels, of Tangent, Ore.


Shelly Boshart Davis and Macey Wessels

Download presentations from sessions at the 2020 Top Producer Summit at

2020 TPOY Alumni

Past finalists and winners of the Top Producer of the Year award celebrate the 2020 winners in Chicago. Back row (from left) Mike Ross, Ron Rabou, Jimmy Tosh, Stan Boshart, Chad Olsen, Marty Klinker, Jay Myers, Chris Adams, Tim Richter.  Front row (from left) Kristjan Hebert, Sam Ross, Stacy Ross, Lori Boshart, Brian Mitchell, David Peterson, Bill Peterson, Annie Dee, Becky Meeuwsen Berger, Earl Meeuwsen.


Read More from the 2020 Top Producer Summit

Avoid This Big Grain Marketing Mistake
From trying to sell at the highs or aiming to beat the lows in the market, knowing when to market grain can be a frustrating piece to the farming puzzle. Marketing grain is simple, it’s just not easy, says Ed Usset, an ag economist at the University of Minnesota. Read More.

Christine Daughtery

How a Global Food Company Responds to Consumer Needs While Supporting Farmers 
From major metropolitan areas to mom-and-pop chains, today’s grocery stories are a culinary wild west, says Christine Daugherty, vice president of sustainable agriculture and responsible sourcing at PepsiCo. Read more.

Want to Grow Hemp? Begin at the End. 
Should you grow hemp? Start the process by working backward, says Dion Oakes, co-owner at Wright-Oakes and partner in First Crop, which is based near San Luis Valley, Colo. Read more.

Anna Brakefield

Traditions Grown and Sewn
In 2016, Anna Brakefield and her father, Mark Yeager, started a transformational journey for their Alabama cotton farm. Their dream: Let’s not just grow cotton, let’s make and market a product. Read more. 

Are You Ready To Transition Your Farm?
Sometimes the first step in a journey is the hardest. But start you must, if your goal is to transition your farm to future leaders.  Read more. 

Curt Covington

How to Profit From Chaos
Good times will return to agriculture. “How you plan will determine how you thrive, as opportunities will arise if you are nimble,” explains Curt Covington, executive vice president and chief credit officer with Farmer Mac. Read more.

Is a Recession Ahead?
The U.S. economy is on the longest economic expansion in history, but growth is slowing says, Christian Lawrence, senior market strategist with Rabobank. Read more. 

Mark Faust

Business Growth Has Few Regrets
What regrets do you have about the growth of your business? Mark Faust, business author and president of Echelon Management, has asked this question to hundreds of CEOs. Read more.

Save the Date

Thank You To Our Sponsors

PLATINUM: Syngenta, Case IH, Bayer, Channel, Rabo AgriFinance and Fendt

GOLD: Valent and Becks Hybrids

SILVER: Corteva, BASF, AgXplore, Pioneer, Pivot Bio and Top Third Ag Marketing

BRONZE: Farmers Mutual Hail, K•Coe Isom, Claas, CLA, Conservis, Granular, Lincoln Financial and Ag Spectrum