Member Recruitment Incentive
2017 Slate of Candidates
Join a Committee in 2017
Annual Conference Details
Consulting Firm Management Course
Welcome New Members/Spotlight
ASAC Leadership Information
Read all about it here.
Join us in Fort Worth, Texas, Nov. 13-15 for the annual conference of the American Society of Agricultural Consultants! Our focus this year will be on giving you the tools you need to grow profits in 2017.
We’ve made it easy for you to register online! Just fill out the form below and submit it. You’ll be taken to a page where you can submit your payment via Paypal.
ASAC Member (Full registration) $395 / $445
Non-member $495 / $545
Spouse (Full registration) $200 / $225
Dinner Banquet Only $55 / $75
Student Registration $95 / $105
Presidents Luncheon Only $30 / $40
Download the full Annual Meeting Program in PDF form. (You can also scroll down the page to see the agenda as it stands now.)
If you prefer to pay by mail, download this printable Registration and Payment Form. Please complete the online registration form above so we have your contact information right away, even if you intend to pay by mail.
To book a hotel room, click this ASAC Booking Link. The group code is ASA. Cut-off date for the group booking is October 14.
ASAC Member (Full registration) $395 / $445
Non-member $495 / $545
Spouse (Full registration) $200 / $225
Dinner Banquet Only $55 / $75
Student Registration $95 / $105
Presidents Luncheon Only $30 / $40
11:00 AM – Registration Opens
2:00 PM – Board of Directors Meeting (Open to all)
5:30 PM – Networking Dinner (Open to all)
7:00 AM Breakfast
8:00 AM – Mitch Morehart, Authoritative Analytics, LLC
Title: Using USDA Financial Data in your Consultancy
Synopsis: The Economic Research Service (ERS) provides key economic indicators, outlook analysis, and a wealth of data on the U.S. food and agricultural system. The National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) conducts hundreds of surveys each year and prepares reports covering virtually every aspect of U.S. production agriculture. Mitch will discuss the various key economic and financial data series and provide specific examples of how the information can be used to inform consultations with farmers, lenders, and other agricultural professionals.
Bio: Mitch Morehart having completed a distinguished 30-year career at the Economic Research Service (ERS), USDA, has vast experience and expertise in several areas of applied economics and statistics. His impact is reflected in the more than 200 presentations to government officials, policy analysts, the research community and other public audiences. He has conducted numerous radio, newspaper, or television interviews on the financial performance of U.S. farm business. He has authored or co-authored more than 100 journal articles and ERS bulletins that report research results in agricultural finance and farm management. He was Responsible for modernizing the preparation and delivery of annual estimates of farm income and wealth measures. As one of the founding architects and manager of a large and complex annual survey of farm operators (Agricultural Resource Management Survey), Morehart has acquired an array of skills pertaining to the collection and reporting of economic data.
9:00 AM – Ed Skelton, Business Economist, Dallas Federal Reserve
Synopsis: Import and Export Trends in Agriculture
Bio: Ed Skelton is a business economist at the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas. Skelton’s primary analysis concerns the economies of Latin America, with a focus on the banking industry and the financial system. He also manages the Bank’s macrosurveillance unit, where he performs regional and national financial system analysis, researches issues related to international systemic risk, and is very active in the Bank’s Economic Education program. He has appeared on National Public Radio, and his work has been cited in the Wall Street Journal, BusinessWeek, Newsweek, specialized industry publications, academic studies, as well as prominent daily newspapers in the U.S., Mexico, Brazil and many other Latin American countries.
In addition to his responsibilities at the Dallas Fed, he is an adjunct professor of economics at Southern Methodist University, where he has received numerous awards for teaching excellence. Skelton received a master of arts in economics degree from Southern Methodist University and a bachelor of business administration in economics degree from Baylor University. He is also a graduate of the American Bankers Association Stonier School of Banking at the University of Pennsylvania, where he has been serving as a capstone project advisor.
10:00 AM – Jimmy Dodson, Chairman of the Board, Farm Credit Bank of Texas
Title: Agricultural Credit Trends
Synopsis: Review and analysis of current trends in agricultural credit.
11:00 AM – John Jackson, CAC, President, Agricultural Management Group, Inc.
Title: How I Did It!
Synopsis: John Jackson has built a career in agricultural consulting and will share how he did just that. Session will feature his international consulting experience and domestic work with western U.S. Indian tribes.
Noon – Past Presidents’ Luncheon – Erin Pirro presiding
Luncheon presentation by Jeanne Bernick, Ag Market Consultant, KCOE ISOM
Title: 6 Ways to Improve Your Connection With Ag Clients
Synopsis: Since shifting in my career from writing about farmers to consulting with them, I have learned a few ways ag consultants can improve our connections with clients. As a journalist, my first job was to listen to the source….as a consultant, my first job remains to listen to the client. I will provide several examples, tips and take-aways for working with farm clients and new tools to improve the client/consultant connection.
Bio: Jeanne Bernick is an ag consultant and business specialist for national accounting and finance firm KCOE ISOM. Jeanne matches the needs of large commercial producers with her firm’s experts and tools, facilitating healthy, growing farm operations that are sustainable for generations to come. She offers a depth of industry insights and works alongside producers to zero-in on farm business solutions. Prior to joining KCOE ISOM, Jeanne spent 20 years as an editor with Farm Journal Media, developing long-standing relationships with ag producers and their families, sitting at their kitchen tables, watching their families grow, seeing the kids take over the operation, and witnessing businesses fail and succeed. She established the first national Executive Women in Ag conference focused on helping women improve their farm business and networking skills. She also helped create a national peer to peer network for farmers that gives farmers opportunities to consult with one another business ideas and financial growth.
1:30 PM – Mick Lewis, Fort Lewis Inc.
Title: Team Profit, Capture the Concept
Synopsis: As we look at the Grain and Cattle outlook for 2017 from a producer’s standpoint, I want to inject my approach to agricultural marketing as a team effort between the producer and the consultant with input from suppliers and bankers. After arriving at a breakeven price for each product, the work expands by estimating what the markets will bear. Analysis of grain and cattle markets is an ongoing process that must last until the products are sold and delivered. Fundamental analysis is the starting point that tells us what to do. That is followed by technical analysis which tells us when to do it. But we also must take a hard look at structure. Structure of a market is “who is buying and who is selling and what is their objective.” In this day and age, market structure can trump everything.
With this presentation being made a week after the presidential election, I may have some opinions on what to expect from a new administration if we are not covered with “hanging chad.”
Bio: Mick was raised on a farm near Arkansas City, KS. After completing a BS in Mechanical Engineering at Kansas State University, he returned to the family farm for 30 years, raising grain, backgrounded feeder cattle and, with his wife, raising two children. Mick served two terms on the Kansas Wheat Commission and was a charter member of US Wheat Associates, an international market development organization. He also travelled to China with the Kansas Farm Bureau promoting agricultural trade. A horse accident brought a change in direction; he and wife Barbara moved 200 miles west to the Dodge City area and started their consulting business. That was almost 21 years ago. He consults directly with farmers and ranchers and has clients in five states ranging from the High Plains to the Delta and into the Corn Belt, advising them on when and how to sell their products and buy their inputs. Mick’s experience in production agriculture and engineering allows an understanding of the problems of clients and enables him to speak their language. He also teaches a class at Dodge City Community College on Developing an Agricultural Marketing Plan.
2:30 PM – Den Gardner, Gardner & Gardner Communications
Title: Expanding Your Practice
Synopsis: Today’s marketing and branding requires a different set of communication tools for your marketing tool box than in the past. This session will help you evaluate your marketing plan and provide steps that will put you on the right path to furthering your success.
Bio: Den Gardner is executive vice president of ASAC and owner of Gardner & Gardner Communications.
4:00 PM – Julie Strain, CAC, Red Wing Software
Title: ASAC’s Core: Ethics
Synopsis: We will review and explore ASAC’s core ethic statements as they become tested in today’s fast paced working environment.
6:00 PM – Reception
7:00 PM – 2016 ASAC Banquet
Featured Speaker: Yuri Yermakov, Citigroup, Director of Model Risk Management
7:00 AM Breakfast
8:00 AM – Doug Wiegand, Precision Planting, Regional Sales Lead Eastern US & Canada
Title: Impact from Details of Precision Management
Synopsis: Managing inputs in agriculture to produce more with less.
Bio: Wiegand grew up on a family farm a family-owned ag retail business in central Illinois. He has worked at Precision Planting for 13 years in sales and product support. Wiegand is based in Tremont, Illinois.
9:00 AM – Roy Ferguson, CMC/CAC, The Ferguson Group
Title: Rescuing Your New Clients
Synopsis: Proven methodology and data requirements for turning your financially troubled client around to consistent profitability.
Bio: Roy is the president of The Ferguson Group which has 11 associates in eight states. Specializes in business turnarounds, strategic planning for expansion, and market penetration. Served clients in 63 different types of industries, businesses, and professions located in 42 states and abroad. Pioneered financial ratio/index guideline procedures for analyzing and managing agricultural firms. Developed “Two-tier Debt Reduction” procedures which were approved by The Federal Reserve, FDIC, and Comptroller of the Currency for application in U.S. agriculture and the independent oil & gas sectors. Has conducted financial management workshops to more than 33,000 attendees throughout the U.S. and Canada. Successful Farming magazine described Roy as “U.S. agriculture’s financial evangelist”…Top Producer magazine labeled him “U.S. agriculture’s Prophet of profitability”…Progressive Farmer magazine stated “Roy is the Dean of U.S. agriculture’s financial consultants”…and the Independent Bankers Association indicated “Roy Ferguson is a nationally recognized specialist in agricultural finance.” During 2013, Roy was selected as one of four ASAC members who have made the greatest impact on the organization during its 50- year history. He is a former president of ASAC and currently serves as a director.
10:30 AM – Yuval Chapin, Elbit Systems
Title: Drones in Agriculture
Noon – State of the Society Lunch Erin Pirro, ASAC President
1:30 PM – Networking Session
Synopsis: Members receive time at the microphone to share information about themselves, their businesses and any successes and secrets that might benefit fellow Society members and attendees.
2:30 PM – ASAC Business Meeting (Open to all)
4:00 PM – ASAC Annual Meeting Adjourns
(Memphis, TN.) – Erin Pirro has been elected president of the American Society of Agricultural Consultants (ASAC) at the organization’s annual meeting held in November. Pirro, from Farm Credit East, Enfield, CT, is a certified agricultural consultant (CAC).
Pirro holds an undergraduate degree in resource economics and a masters degree in agricultural economics from the University of Connecticut. She received her CAC designation in 2014. As a farm business consultant and vice president for Farm Credit East, a leading financial services cooperative for agriculture in the northeast, Pirro’s work is centered on “assisting customers analyze their businesses from many angles in order to pinpoint methods for improving their profitability.” She also facilitates succession planning in family businesses.
In addition, Pirro leads First Pioneer’s Agricultural Retail Benchmarks, which is a comprehensive program of data analysis, benchmark reporting, and member networking for owners and managers of farm markets, garden centers, nurseries, wineries and other ag retail businesses.
Other newly elected officers for ASAC are: President-Elect Julie Strain, Red Wing Software, Red Wing, MN; Vice President/Secretary Russell Morgan, CAC, Morgan & Associates Consulting, Paducah, KY; Chief Financial Officer Carol Starkie, Farm Credit East, Bedford, NH; and, Immediate Past President, Norman Brown, FBS Systems, Inc., Aledo, IL.
Elected to the organization’s Board of Directors were: Northern Region, Kurt Ehnle, CAC, Edelstein, IL; Southern Region, Roy Ferguson, CAC, Ferguson Group, Broken Arrow, OK; Western Region, Paige Gilligan, CAC, Rabobank NA, Fresno, CA; Eastern Region, Jim Casler, North Coast Ag, Traverse City, MI.
ASAC is a non-profit organization oriented around raising the standards and image of professional agricultural consultants. As such, it is the only association representing the full range of agricultural consultants.
Also honored during the meeting was Roy Ferguson for service to the association. Casler was also recognized for his outstanding contributions in social media and marketing on behalf of the association.
The August issue of the FarmSMART Newsletter is now available!
In this issue:
User Conference Updates
Hedge Accounting Workshop
FBS Users in the news
September Free Webinars
Is Win 10 a Winner?
Q&A: Applying Prepaid Inputs
Norman Brown, CAC, president of FBS Systems, Inc., based in Aledo, IL, was elected ASAC President by the members of the American Society of Agricultural Consultants while at the organization’s annual conference held in St. Louis in late October. Prior to this he had served as the group’s vice president/secretary and president elect.
Moving into the president-elect spot for the consultants group is Erin Pirro, CAC, a farm business consultant with Farm Credit East, Enfield, CT. Prior to moving into the ‘chairs’ of the organization, Pirro had served as chief financial officer with oversight for ASAC finances and budgets. She will automatically move into the president’s position in the next business year.
Julie Strain, a sales engineer with Red Wing Software, Red Wing, MN, is the new ASAC Vice President/Secretary. She will automatically move up the ‘chairs’ to president-elect in 2016.
Replacing Pirro as chief financial officer for ASAC is Carol Starkie, a farm business advisor with Farm Credit East, Bedford, NH. This is a 3-year term with the organization.
Kurt Ehnle, CAC, with Ferguson Group (Peoria), Edelstein, IL, was elected to a 2-year term on the ASAC Board of Directors. He has served as a board member in the past. Also elected to a 2-year term was Ry Ferguson II, CAC, Ferguson Group (Tulsa), Broken Arrow, OK. Continuing in their second year as directors are James Kastanek, principal with Total Agribusiness Systems, Albany, MN, and Gary Snider, CAC, a farm business consultant with Farm Credit East, Mayvlle, NY.
It’s been quite a summer in the professional life of ASAC CFO Erin Pirro, CAC, Farm Credit East, ACA, based in Enfield, CT.
Earlier this summer she was named a recipient of the Hartford (Connecticut) Business Journal’s 40 under 40 List, given annually to the Greater Hartford men and women who have accomplished much in the early stages of their careers and have the potential to go on to do even greater things.
Mid-way through the season she was granted her CAC designation.
￼Now she has been named an honoree of Vance Publishing’s 40 Under 40 Award!
In the letter received by Pirro September 8 announcing her selection as an honoree, Joelle Stephens, manager of agribusiness market operations for Vance Publishing, wrote: “We are excited to announce that you have been chosen as one of our Top 40 Honoree’s for this year’s 40 Under
40 Award! With close to 200 nomina- tions from various industry segments in agriculture, it is quite an honor and we look forward to working with you in the upcoming weeks to get your feature story written, as well as throughout next year at different industry events. A special thanks to your Nominator – they knew what a great Honoree you’d make!”
“We are very proud of what you are doing in the name of agriculture and to be able to present you with this award! Way to go!!.”
According to Stephens, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), says global food produc- tion must double by 2050 to head off mass hunger. Agriculture will have no choice but to be more productive. Increases will need to come mostly from yield growth and improved cropping intensity rather than by farming more land.
“Vance Publishing, a leader in agriculture publishing with 10 titles surrounding different segments of agriculture, is committed to bringing awareness to the 2050 Challenge and the world-wide food crisis surrounding it. Our aim is to establish an influential network of young agricultural innovators under the age of 40 to join their voice with ours to emphasize that all agricultural segments must work together to meet this challenge. This is how the 40 Under 40 Awards was born.”
“Each year,” she continues, “Vance Publishing accepts nominations from our readers, advertisers and anyone involved in agriculture. The nominees must be involved with a business engaged in food production, food pro- cessing, food safety, food research, food transportation or a group, organization, association or university that serves those industries. From there we have a panel of judges from various industries go through the nomina- tions and score each submission. We then take the top 40 to honor as the year’s class of 40 Under 40 winners.
Pirro will be featured in the November/December issues of Vance Publishing’s agribusiness publications and also on the www.40under40ag.com website and Facebook pages.
Erin joined ASAC in 2011 and immediately jumped on board as the organization’s Chief Financial Officer. She will resign that position at the ASAC Annual Confer- ence in October 2014 to be placed into nomination as the organization’s President-Elect.
Erin is a farm business consultant and assistant vice presi- dent for Farm Credit East, ACA, Her work is centered on successfully helping customers analyze their businesses from many angles in order to pinpoint methods for im- proving their profitability. In addition, Pirro leads First Pi- oneer’s Agricultural Retail Benchmarks, which is a com- prehensive consulting program for owners and managers of farm markets, garden centers, nurseries, wineries and other ag retail businesses. She provides similar services for wholesale greenhouse and nursery operations.
“Her work, insight, energy and total focus on helping customers increase their business profitability and overall success has been nothing short of impressive. Her cus- tomers praise her strategic advice as much as they appre- ciate its practical slant,” says John Caltabiano, executive vice president and regional manager for Farm Credit East.
Adds Keith Stechschulte, vice president and manager of the Enfield, CT branch office: “Erin deserves these awards and all the high praise about her and her work. Congratu- lations Erin on all of these recent honors and career mile- stones. Everyone at Farm Credit East is very proud of you and all you do for agriculture.”
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.
Capital Agricultural Property Services has several farm management videos available on its YouTube channel.
Here’s one on land lease basics:
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.