Ag Symposium

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 Not so long ago, families operated relatively small farms, and a farm of many hundreds of acres was considered a large operation. Today, an ag producer has to be much larger as the economies of scale dictate his or her standard of living; it’s not uncommon to encounter farmers working thousands of acres. The level of sophistication to keep pace has escalated dramatically.

But farming like this also demands smarts. Lots of smarts. Today’s producer is an economist, a broker, a banker, a transportation company and a very, very busy professional. Staying on top of the latest trends and innovations will ensure that he or she is able to keep pace with the rapid change facing the life of the 21st century farmer. At one time, attending conferences and seminars was viewed as a luxury or a nice to-do kind of thing. Not anymore. Professional development is the only way a farmer can keep a finger on the pulse of this dynamic industry and not neglect their business.

South Central College, the most respected name in Agricultural education in southern Minnesota, is embarking on a program to address the needs of the modern ag producer. Taking their cues from other top-flight national conferences, SCC will be hosting its eighth annual Agricultural Symposium in 2016. More details on the keynote speakers, dynamic breakout sessions and engaging forums will be published soon.

Titled “New Tools for New Rules”, the conference will address highly relevant topics facing the modern producer.

And unlike other professional development seminars where the event’s profits go to the promoter, all net proceeds from New Tools will benefit student scholarships and agricultural programs at South Central College as well as the college’s non-profit Foundation. This will provide resources for ag-related scholarships, purchase state-of-the-art lab and instructional equipment, and more.


Dr. David Kohl
KohlDr. David Kohl received his M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in Agricultural Economics from Cornell University. Dr. Kohl has traveled over 6 million miles throughout his professional career. He has conducted more than 5,000 workshops and seminars for agricultural groups such as bankers, Farm Credit, FSA, and regulators, as well as producer and agribusiness groups. He has published four books and over 500 articles on financial and business-related topics in journals, extension, and other popular publications. Kohl regularly writes for Farm Journal, Top Producer, Ag Lender, and Soybean Digest.

Robert Craven
CravenRobert is an Extension Economist, Farm Management and Director of the Center for Farm Financial Management. Areas of specialty include business management for farmers and credit analysis for agricultural lenders with emphasis on financial planning and analysis. His work for the Center has focused on development of FINPACK. He also has worked to develop the crop marketing programs at the Center, i.e., “Winning the Game” series of workshops. He also played a key role in the development of the National Risk Management Education Library.  pdfRobert Craven's Symposium Presentation1.19 MB

Symposium Agenda Friday, April 1, 2016

8:00 a.m. Registration
8:30 a.m. Dr. David Kohl
10:30 a.m. Robert Craven
11:30 a.m.


Tuesday, February 9, 2016. Featured Speakers

Lowell Catlett, Ph.D.
CatlettLowell Catlett, Ph.D., a futurist with positive and upbeat predictions, is an enthralling and spellbinding presenter. His unique perspective of emerging technologies prepares us to anticipate coming changes, and to deal winning hands when the deck is being continually reshuffled.

He awakens our awareness to human potential even in changing times and shifting terrain. Lowell is a Regents Professor in Agricultural Economics and Agricultural Business and Extension Economics and the Dean of the College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences at New Mexico State University.

He is the author of numerous books and articles and won the university’s highest award to a professor, the Westhafer Award. He works nationally and internationally with corporations and organizations doing futuristic planning concerning the impacts of technology on careers, lifestyles and the economy.

Laura Daniels
DanielsLaura Daniels is an agriculture advocate and consultant who delivers pro-ag and motivational speeches across the country. A graduate of UW-Madison, she uses social media each day to spread pro-agriculture messages. A wife, mother, and farmer, she serves as General Manager in charge of day-to-day operations at Heartwood Farm in Cobb, WI. She provides consulting services in the areas of team building, employee management, and dairy cattle nutrition.

Temple Grandin, Ph.D.
GrandinDr. Temple Grandin is a professor of animal science at Colorado State University, and she has been a pioneer in improving the handling and welfare of farm animals.

She was born in Boston, Massachusetts. Temple’s achievements are remarkable because she was an autistic child. At age two she had no speech and all the signs of severe autism. Fortunately, her mother defied the advice of the doctors and kept her out of an institution. Many hours of speech therapy, and intensive teaching enabled Temple to learn speech. As a teenager, life was hard with constant teasing. Mentoring by her high school science teacher and her aunt on her ranch in Arizona motivated Temple to study and pursue a career as a scientist and livestock equipment designer.

Dr. Grandin obtained her B.A. at Franklin Pierce College in 1970. In 1974 she was employed as Livestock Editor for the Arizona Farmer Ranchman and also worked for Corral Industries on equipment design. In 1975 she earned her M.S. in Animal Science at Arizona State University for her work on the behavior of cattle in different squeeze chutes. Dr. Grandin was awarded her Ph.D. in Animal Science from the University of Illinois in 1989 and is currently a Professor at Colorado State University.

Read more in pdfDr. Grandin's detailed bio

Maurice (Moe) Russell
RussellMoe Russell is the cofounder and president of Russell Consulting Group, a leading provider of marketing and financial advice to crop and livestock producers. With its proven model of risk discovery, planning and analysis, Russell Consulting helps its clients reach their farm’s financial goals and desired profit marks. The company’s benchmarking data for Machinery and Labor cost per acre is valued by producers throughout North America.

Moe is a frequent business speaker on motivation, planning and entrepreneurship. He developed a webinar series on commodity marketing and writes for Farm Journal magazine.

Read more in pdfMoe Russell's detailed bio  pdfMoe Russell's Symposium Presentation   xlsxRACI Chart Sample   xlsFinancial Analysis

Symposium Agenda Tuesday, February 9, 2016

8:00 a.m. Registration/Networking/Exhibits
8:30 a.m. Welcome
8:45 a.m. Keynote Address, Laura Daniels
9:30 a.m. Break/Exhibits Open
10:00 a.m. Keynote Address, Dr. Temple Grandin
11:30 a.m. Lunch Break/Exhibits Open
12:30 p.m. Keynote, Dr. Lowell Catlett
1:15 p.m. Maurice (Moe) Russell
2:15 p.m. Break/Exhibits Open
2:45 p.m. Maurice (Moe) Russell (Continued)
4:00 p.m. Conclusion




Presenting Sponsor: CHS. Plantinum Sponsor: Central Farm Service.

Gold Sponsors

  • AgStar Financial Services
  • Crystal Valley
  • Minnesota Soybean Research & Promotion Council