Over the last several years, the center has engaged in several key partnerships as it continues to focus on delivering top-flight management information to the nation’s commercial farming operations. During 2016, partnerships with Farm Credit Mid-America and 1st Farm Credit Services made it possible to develop and deliver strategic management workshops to both beginning farming operations and established commercial-scale farms. These intensive multi-day workshops focused on improving farm managers’ financial management skill sets and on developing business plans for their farms. Over the last two years, nine workshops were delivered to farmers with operations in Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Ohio
During 2016 the center also partnered with CME Group to launch the Purdue/CME Group Ag Economy Barometer, which provides producers and agribusiness firms with the nation’s only monthly measure of the agricultural sectors’ health. Research to develop the barometer was conducted in 2015-2016 and the monthly barometer was publicly released in spring 2016. The center launched a new website for the barometer, http://purdue.edu/agbarometer, which provides detailed results from the monthly surveys in addition to describing the methodology used to generate the barometer.
Assisting farmers grappling with the effects of the downturn in agriculture continued to be a major focus for the center in 2016. In addition to providing information via articles and decision tools on the center’s web site, the center also provided webinars, financial management workshops in conjunction with Purdue Extension and the Indiana Soybean Alliance, and joint programming with Purdue’s Agronomy Extension faculty to help farmers fine tune their production management practices.
CCA initiated a webinar/video series in fall 2014 to provide agricultural producers and agribusinesses contemporaneous information from Purdue’s agricultural economists. Since October 2014, CCA has provided 26 webinars/videos with over 14,000 viewers (live, plus YouTube viewings). Topics covered include long-term agricultural business climate, commodity outlook, farm management strategies, and farm policy.
The center also organizes and hosts one of the nation’s leading farm management conferences, the Purdue Top Farmer Conference. The 2016 two-day conference, attended by approximately 100 farm managers, focused on improving commercial farmers’ managerial skill sets, and covered a variety of management, finance, and marketing topics.
During 2016, the center also jointly managed the Purdue Farm Management Tour with Purdue Extension. The tour is the longest continuously operating tour of Corn Belt farming operations, with a history dating back to the late 1930’s. The 2016 tour featured innovative Indiana crop and livestock farming operations in Jasper and Newton counties.
The center also continues to sponsor the “Introduction to the Business of Commercial Agriculture” class on campus. Each spring semester, the class provides students with a broad perspective of career opportunities available in the commercial agriculture sector by visiting a variety of farms and agribusinesses and having business leaders visit campus to meet with class members.
Thanks for your interest in and support of the Purdue Center for Commercial Agriculture! We’re excited about the many programming opportunities the Center for Commercial Agriculture will have in the year ahead. As always, if you have suggestions for future programs, research or just want to chat, we’d love to hear from you.