Training Agricultural Leaders to Help Farmer Clients

Craig A. Chase, Farm & Ag. Business Management Field Specialist, NE Iowa


The agricultural industry in Iowa is dominated by commodity production, which is a high volume, low profit margin industry. Narrow profit margins force farm businesses to grow in assets, output, and labor income to remain profitable. Moreover, farmers are looking at business opportunities for their major products such as corn for ethanol plants. Farmers approach agricultural lenders and other agribusiness leaders to obtain capital for growth or investment, market their crops or livestock, or purchase risk management products such as crop insurance.


To help agricultural lenders and other agribusiness professionals better understand commodity markets, the overall agricultural business environment including the bioeconomy, farm policy, and risk management tools and opportunities, Iowa State University Extension provides an educational program referred to as the Pro-Ag Seminar. The half-day programs present outlook and other critical information enabling participants to match their products to producer needs and give them the confidence they need to suggest management strategies that could increase the economic viability of their farmer clientele.


An end of the meeting evaluation indicated the program was well received. The two major topics were evaluated with 96% rating grain outlook and overview of the ethanol industry as “beneficial” or “extremely beneficial” and 94% rating global policies and risk management as “beneficial” or “extremely beneficial”.

When asked what they learned and how they plan to use the information, numerous attendees stated they better understand crop outlook, how the ethanol industry may affect Iowa agriculture, and policy implications. Virtually all participants gained awareness and knowledge related to the topics presented. Participants plan to use the newly gained knowledge to help their clientele market and manage risks better, make informed decisions related to the farm business, and counsel customers on credit decisions.

ISU Extension is reaching farmer clientele both directly and indirectly through agricultural service providers. The more providers understand the business of farming, the more they can help farmers improve their profitability. It appears programs like the Pro-Ag Seminar are increasing service providers’ awareness and knowledge regarding relevant farm management topics. For more information on the Pro-Ag Seminar series, contact Craig Chase at 319-882-4275 (

December 2006
POW 120 – Farm and Business Management


Page last updated: February 1, 2007
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