Sam Ross plants much more than corn, soybeans and cotton. His goal is to sow, grow and cultivate an operation that supports his team, family and community.
Ross’ farming roots run deep in Pioneer, La. As a young boy, he soaked up his grandfather’s and father’s farming knowledge and experience. There was never a question his career would be farming. Just three years after graduating high school, Ross bought his first 100 acres.
With his gritty work ethic and relentless drive, Ross has steadily and strategically grown his acres and business prowess. Fast forward to today, and Ross’ operation, Ross Planting Company, spans 10,300 acres of row crops and includes a cotton gin.
Ross is focused on financial and risk management. He incorporates crop insurance into his budget and smartly invests in new technology. He switched to leasing machinery in 2020, which generated income to purchase a 330,000-bu. grain storage facility.
Stacy, Ross’ wife, and their son, Jacob, both have key roles in the operation. Ross’ father, Mike, and other family members continue to provide labor and share farming wisdom.
The fourth-generation operation employs eight full-time and 10 part-time team members. Like on most farms, developing a stable and committed team has been a challenge. To overcome this hurdle, Ross evaluates each employee’s strengths and weaknesses to determine the best role they will play in the operation. He holds them accountable, while encouraging them and acknowledging their role in the success of the farm.
With more than 20 years under his belt, Ross’ goal now is to mentor and coach his son, as well as share his knowledge and experience with other young farmers—helping them avoid some of the mistakes he’s made.
Sponsored by BASF, Rabo AgriFinance and Case IH, the Top Producer of the Year contest is in its 21st year and represents the best in the business of farming. Three finalists are chosen from numerous applications by a panel of judges based on entrepreneurial originality; financial and business progress; and industry and community leadership.
The three finalists received all-expense-paid trips to attend the Summit, as well as sessions with a CEO coach, courtesy of BASF. The winner also receives the tractor of their choice, either a Steiger Rowtrac or a Magnum Rowtrac from Case IH, for 150 hours of use on their farm, courtesy of Case IH. From Rabo AgriFinance, the winner receives a spot on one of the company’s upcoming “Connections in Global Ag” international trips.
This week’s Top Producer Summit in Chicago included Top Producer Seminar, Tomorrow’s Top Producer, Executive Women in Agriculture (EWA), Legacy Project Conference and Hemp College. for a week of networking and education for the nation’s executive farmers. More than 900 participants attended the Summit, including producers representing 4 million acres from 35 states and Canada.
This year’s seminar featured more than 30 different educational sessions around the theme “Drive 2020: All Systems Go,” for producers to hone their money, marketing and management skills.
Learn more about Top Producer Summit at www.TPSummit.com. Sponsors include:
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, KCOE ISOM, Claas, Clifton Larson Allen, Conservis, Granular, Lincoln Financial and Ag Spectrum