Consultants to Discuss Impact of Big Data

The impact of Big Data and how it can best be used by professional ag consultants and their clients will be a primary discussion point at the annual conference of the American Society of Agricultural Consultants which will be held Oct. 19 – 21 in St. Louis.

Download the Agenda and Registration Form for more information.

“Big Data is everywhere but delivers limited value and clarity unless interpreted through objective knowledge and context” says Norman Brown, CAC, president of FBS Systems, Inc., and overall chairman of the ASAC annual conference “The Big Data session will look beyond the current debate over data access and ownership and envision how third-party consultants can add true value to all segments of agriculture.”

Brown explains that a panel of industry leaders will take part in a discussion during the conference. “Big Data: Cultivating Insight from the Cloud to the Client” will feature: John Jansen, director of sales at Climate Corporation; Dr. Terry Griffin, and independent consultant formerly of the University of Arkansas and CrescoAg. LLC, Memphis, TN; and user-producer. The discussion will be moderated by Robert Merhle, Ph.D., CAC, Mid-South Ag Data, LLC.

“We are looking at this uniquely-qualified group to give us a definitive overview of Big Data so we can work together for the common goal of feeding the planet,” Brown says.

The overall theme of the conference will focus on looking ahead in ag practices as well as business planning, he notes.

There will also be discussion groups focusing on networking with producers, supervising client transitions, and managing effective communications with the next generation taking over the leadership roles on farms and ranches,” Brown adds. ”We often forget that the new generation that is taking over managing farms may be using media that is different than what today’s generation of consultants have grown used to,” he explains. “We will explore the options that are there.”

The luncheon program on October 21 will be a joint event between the Ag Consultants group and members of the St. Louis Agri Business Club. Jeanne Bernick, editor of Top Producer magazine, will address the combined audiences.

All events are being held at the Embassy Suites St. Louis Airport.

CAPS Video Channel Available

Capital Agricultural Property Services has several farm management videos available on its YouTube channel.

Here’s one on land lease basics:

Employment – Business Consultant

Farm Credit East has an open position for a business consultant in Maine.

SUMMARY OF POSITION: This job provides high level consulting services for a fee to Farm Credit East clients in the areas of intergenerational transfer, estate/retirement planning, entity selection and implementation, business dissolution, profitability improvement and business planning/ management. This position is expected to have seasoned knowledge in various business management topics including farm taxation, the interpersonal skills to work in a consultative manner with farm business people and the drive to seek out and sell sufficient consulting engagements to meet billing goals. This position requires travel primarily within Maine with occasional training/meeting travel to other parts of the Northeast.

For more information, and to apply, download this position description position description.

Conference: “What’s Next for Farmland Values?”

What’s happening to farmland values and what may be in store in the future are the subjects of the 2014 Illinois Farmland Values Conference which will be hosted by the Illinois Society of Professional Farm Managers and Rural Appraisers which will be held in Bloomington, Illinois, on March 20.

“We’ve all see an easing of prices being paid for farmland across the state and I think we’re accepting that this was inevitable. But what’s next?” asks Dale Aupperle, AFM, ARA, Heartland Ag Group, Ltd., Forsyth, chair of the annual ISPFMRAS Farmland Values program. “The speakers and presentations that are on the schedule for this year’s Farmland Values Conference will address that subject square on.

“One of the recent drivers on land values has been the near-zero percent interest rates,” he explains. “But that could very well be changing with new leadership at the Federal Reserve Board, and David Oppedahl, at the Federal Reserve Bank in Chicago, will be addressing that subject.”

“Dr. Steve Johnson, from Iowa State University Extension and Outreach, will look at leases and cash rents from a broader, Midwest perspective. It’s always good to know what’s going on around us so we have benchmarks for comparison,” Aupperle continues.  “Dr. Brent Gloy, from Purdue University, will also offer his perspective on what has been happening, and what likely could happen, from  the farmland values perspective across the entire Midwest.”

“And we’ve just added Dr. Bruce Sherrick from the University of Illinois’ College of ACES to address ‘New Tools and Indicators in Farmland Values.’ This will compare returns on farmland to other assets and potential for developing indexable farmland returns, and demonstrate some useful tools for managing positions in farm real estate,” he says.

There is a $75 registration fee to attend. That includes a copy of the 2014 Illinois Farmland Values Lease Trends Report.  Registrations can be paid at the door and advance registrations aren’t required.

For more information on the conference, go to the ISPFMRA website.

Russ Morgan to Lead Ag Consultants

Russ MorganRussell Morgan, CAC, principal with Convenent Accounting and Tax Services, Paducah, KY, was elected president of the American Society of Agricultural Consultants at the organization’s annual meeting held recently in Alexandria, VA.

Morgan holds bachelors and masters degrees in agricultural economics from the University of Tennessee. He ws employed by the University of Kentucky Extension Services for a number of years before starting his own accounting and consulting service in 2003. He has previously served as the Chief Financial Officer, Vice President and President-Elect of the ASAC organization.

Other newly elected officers for ASAC are: President-Elect Norman Brown, FBS Systems, Inc., Aledo, IL; Vice President Robert Mehrle, Ph.D., CAC, Agricultural Information Management, Lambert, MS, Chief Financial Officer Erin Pirro, Farm Credit East, Enfield, CT, and; Immediate Past President Paige Gilligan, Rabobank, N.A., Fresno, CA.

Elected to the Board of Directors were: Roy Ferguson II, CAC, Ferguson Group (Tulsa), Broken Arrow, OK; James Kastenak, Total Agri-Business Services, Inc., Albany, MN, and; Gary Snider, CAC, Farm Credit East, ACA, Mayville, NY. Continuing in a term on the board is Joseph Kluender, CAC, Farm Family Dynamics, LLC, North Mankato, MN.

ASAC is a non-profit organization centered around raising the standards and image of professional agricultural consultants. As such, it is the only association representing the full range of agricultural consultants.

This month’s issue of the Farm Smart newsletter features information on harvest data, and a 2013-14 trade show schedule.

You can see the full issue here.

FarmSmart Newsletter – September 2013

This month’s issue of the FarmSmart newsletter features lots of conference news and information on some upcoming webinars.

You can see the full issue here.

Update: Glickman and Vroom Added to Conference Agenda


UPDATE: Former Secretary of Agriculture Dan Glickman and current CropLife America CEO Jay Vroom have been added to and round out the program for the upcoming Muddy Boots Conference to be held in Alexandria, VA October 20 through 22.

Glickman currently serves as CoChair of Agree and will address U.S. efforts to meet foot demands with a subtitle – “Can the World Sustain Itself?”

Vroom is CEO of CropLife America, the leading trade association serving the crop protection industry. He will lead the ethics discussion on “Are you consulting or are you selling? Walking the tightrope.”

Both of these presentations will be ones you will NOT WANT TO MISS !!

Download a copy of the updated agenda and registration information here.


Let’s face it, the role of the agricultural consultant has changed in the past few years. Technology continues to sweep through the industry at a pace that challenges even the most tech savvy. It’s easy enough for professionals to get lost in the changes that bombard them daily. Can you imagine the confusion of your clients?

New challenges oftentimes open doors to new opportunities. But where can one go to get their arms around all that is happening?

Start with this special Muddy Boots conference sponsored by the American Society of Agricultural Consultants. This is a three-day event for any and all who are involved with consulting in agriculture today. Whether it’s in the United States, North America, or just about any other place around the world, it’s time to get back to the basics of agricultural consulting.

Download the program with full agenda.

Whether you are new to the industry or a seasoned veteran, this conference has something for you! Points to be addressed at the conference include:

• Who are today’s consultants and where will tomorrow’s come from?

• How do you walk the tightrope between consulting and selling products?

• What are the latest communications tools that will work for you AND your clients?

• What are the opportunities for working with government contracts, whether here or abroad and how do you find out what’s out there?

• It looks as though there will finally be a Farm Bill….what do you need to know about it — an open dialogue with senior USDA staff

• Are you making as much money as you think you should? Is this a job that pays or just a passion that makes you feel good?

• What opportunities are out there today and where will they be tomorrow? Are you ready to get on board?


Access to Start-up Resources the Biggest Challenge for New Farmers

Screen Shot 2013-06-17 at 12.25.52 PMBrent Pollard, Chairman of the Illinois Farm Bureau State Young Leader Committee, says the strong farm economy can actually pose some difficult challenges for farmers who are just starting out. Pollard spoke to Brownfield Ag News about those challenges recently. The biggest hurdle, according to Pollard, is getting access to the resources they need to start farming: things like land and equipment.

You can listen to the whole interview here. His comments on young farmers begin about two minutes in.

(Photo from Brownfield Ag News)

The Farmer’s Edge, June 2013

Hurley & Associates has published its newsletter, The Farmer’s Edge, for June 2013. You can download it here.


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