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Farm Progress reports:

Is it time to meet old friends, learn a few new things, and sharpen up your farm management skillset?

You bet it is, and we're here to help. After long months of isolation the 2021 Farm Futures Business Summit is set to go live June 16-17 at the Coralville Marriott Hotel and Conference Center just outside Iowa City. This year's agenda is packed with risk management, best practices, market outlook sessions, and much, much more.

What's in store?

China and future ag trade

Pull up a chair and listen in as Gregg Doud, former U.S. trade Ambassador and one of the primary architects of the U.S.-China Phase One trade deal, shares his view of China and future ag exports. Doud has seen ag trade evolve over 30 years working in agriculture on Capitol Hill. He will offer an inside look at what it was like to negotiate the deal and work in the Trump administration.

Best business governance practices for your farm

Dick Wittman, an Idaho rancher and farm management consultant, will share best ways to professionalize the family farm, a hot topic these days as farms look to pass the business to younger generations. Summit attendees will be led through assessment tools to score themselves on proficiency in personnel, governance, financial and marketing management. Attendees will take home a clear path for documenting and implementing best management practices for managing a family farm business.

Open-book management

It's a concept built on a simple yet radical idea: if employees can learn how a business operates and how it makes money, then they begin to think and act like business people themselves, with skin in the game. Water Street Solutions CEO Darren Frye will be at the summit to share how open-book management can benefit your farm operation. His presentation will cover why building business skills is key for employee engagement, how business transparency can radically change a farm's culture, and the three ways to improve everyone's ownership in the success of the farm.

Manage risk with technical analysis

Attendees can learn from former Marine Brian Splitt, technical analyst with AgMarket.Net, how to read grain market signals through technical analysis. While fundamental analysis will always be the foundation of bull and bear markets, technical analysis can be used successfully to determine which price levels are important, and why. "We won't be together for an hour trying to determine where the market is going, but we will work towards the goal of producers independently identifying when the market is at an actionable level," explains Splitt.

Grain market outlook panel discussion

Mid-June may be one of the most crucial times for the grain markets as weather becomes an important fundamental factor. We're gearing up to bring several highly respected market analysts together for a lively discussion on the near-term future of the grain market. The discussion will be emceed by This Week in Agribusiness anchor Max Armstrong and preceded by a summer weather forecast by TWIA meteorologist Greg Soulje.

Estate planning and tax threats

Washburn economist and tax expert Roger McEowen will provide participants with a path through the recent (and anticipated) changes in federal law that bear upon income tax planning, estate and business planning, and the intergenerational transfer of wealth for farm families. Mike Downey, a Farm Futures blogger and associate with Farm Financial Strategies, will teach attendees how to manage family farm transitions by understanding the options available to pass your farm down to the next generation.

Learn more

Other sessions include:

Does ethanol have a future? A panel discussion sponsored by National Corn Growers Association;

Policy and politics for the next four years by D.C. Dialogue blogger and Farm Futures policy editor Jacqui Fatka;

How to make multi-generation operations work better, A farmer panel discussion emceed by K Coe Isom family business consultant Davon Cook;

How to capitalize on soil health and emerging carbon markets, a panel discussion sponsored by Anuvia Plant Nutrients;

How to structure farm business breakups and buyouts, by Wittman and Cook;

Using cloud-connected farm accounting to integrate your farm's information, led by John McNutt, lead consultant with business consulting firm LattaHarris;

How to become a financially forward-thinking farm operation by AgAmerica Lending's Curt Covington;

Strategic business expansion dos and don'ts, led by ARMLend real estate division director Ashley Arrington;

So, pull up a seat. Go to to register online or call 800-441-1410 (Monday-Friday, 8:30 a.m. - 4 p.m CT).

Reserve your seat and make hotel reservations. We'll be looking for you in Iowa!

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