‘Growing Ag CEOs’ workshops begin Feb. 7 in South Dakota | TSLN.com

‘Growing Ag CEOs’ workshops begin Feb. 7 in South Dakota

BROOKINGS, SD – To ensure a new generation of South Dakota agriculture producers is ready to take on the challenges of operating their business in today’s agriculture industry, SDSU Extension developed Growing Ag CEOs.

Growing Ag CEOs is a program focused on connecting new producers with seasoned and successful producers, agriculture leaders and the knowledge and research base found within the University system.

“South Dakota agriculture producers are experts in maximizing yields and raising superior livestock. However, as the average age of the South Dakota producer continues to increase, we’re at risk of losing their knowledge, experience and expertise,” said Rosie Nold, Ag and Natural Resources Program Director for South Dakota State University (SDSU) Extension. “The number of younger producers eager to fill their shoes is not only dramatically low, but in need of additional skills required to operate in today’s business climate.”

Nold refers to Census of Agriculture data which showed the number of agriculture producers between the ages of 35 and 45 decreasing by 40 percent between 2002 and 2007.

Although the next generation of agriculture producers is more educated – holding degrees in animal science, agronomy, production agriculture or agriculture technology, many young producers lack experience in the business aspect of production agriculture.

“Successful producers need to be able to identify critical success factors, think through all variables impacting their business and integrate these factors into best management factors. Growing Ag CEOs will help young producers do this,” Nold said.

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Realizing that many new producers are often the ones who stay home to keep things running, while the older generation attends educational conferences; Growing Ag CEOs will provide young producers with resources, education and experience to focus on developing skills in the business end of agriculture.

“Growing Ag CEOs will help move new producers from an employee mindset to that of the business manager and agriculture CEO,” Nold said.

Growing Ag CEOs provides young producers with the opportunity to work within learning communities, created by SDSU Extension. Adapted to the interests and needs of participants, these learning communities connect new producers with current leaders and mentors in the South Dakota agriculture industry.

“New producers need the opportunity to learn from the mistakes of others without having to experience them. Overcoming production or financial mistakes is not easily done in today’s economy where there is simply too much money on the line,” Nold said. “Within these communities we encourage successful farmers and ranchers to be open with all aspects of their businesses and provide insights into the big picture of the farm or ranch business.”

To launch Growing Ag CEOs, SDSU Extension is hosting several four-part series of producer workshops throughout the state beginning Feb. 7. Extension staff will lead instruction on specific topics, but the program also has a strong focus on working with mentors and area ag leaders, in a learning community approach.

The first meeting runs from 5:30-8:30 p.m. with the remaining workshop time determined by participants. The workshops will include teaching on financial records; balance sheets, cash flow statements; and profit/loss statements. Additional teaching topics, including production-focused items, will be added or changed based on participant interests and needs. In addition, meetings in the series will include some “round table” formats involving discussion with key agricultural leaders from the surrounding areas of the host sites. Goals of these workshops include the development of learning communities among the participants and key leaders.

The Rapid City workshop runs Feb. 7, 14, 21 and 28 at the Regional Center. The Faith workshop runs Feb. 8, 15, 22 and 29 at the Faith Community Center Meeting Room. The Winner workshop runs Feb. 9, 16 and 23 and March 1 at the Winner Regional Center. The Beresford workshop runs Feb. 15, 22 and March 1, 8 at the Southeast Research Farm. The Mitchell workshop runs Feb. 14, 21, 28 and March 6 at the Mitchell Regional Center. The Redfield workshop runs Feb. 13, 20, 27 and March 5 at undetermined location. The Watertown workshop runs Feb. 16, 23 and March 2 at the Watertown Regional Center.

To pre-register, visit igrow.org, or contact Paulette Morse at the Rapid City Regional Extension Center at 605-394-2236 or paulette.morse@sdstate.edu. Cost for the program is $200, of which $100 will be refunded upon completion of the entire four-part series.

– SDSU extension