It's Good To Hear an Optimistic Take on the Future of Ag

Prairie Gleanings

Moe Russell paints a great (and profitable) picture for production agriculture.

Published on: July 19, 2010
It's tough to listen to Moe Russell without feeling optimistic for this business of farming.

Russell, president of Russell Consulting Group, gave a great presentation at Wyffels' Corn Strategies meeting in Decatur last week. Consider this statement from Russell. "There's no other industry where you can make more money than the one you're in (farming)."

Russell backs this up by comparing his clients' success to other financial benchmarks. For example, George Steinbrenner had a lifetime return on equity of 15.13%. Last year, Russell's clients averaged 18.12%. That's higher than the averaged return on equity for the 2009 Fortune 500 (10.5%).

Want to know another zinger? It's not dependent on the type of farm operation. He presented operations ranging from 900 acres with 4,800 pigs to 12,000 acres of row crops. Both were over 20% for return on equity.

Russell's presentation was full of great tips. Such as, recognize old vs. new thinking. Our parents told us to work on our weaknesses. Russell says successful farmers are working on their strengths and outsourcing their weaknesses to experts.

Here's a great tip for those looking to pick up more ground: pay attention to the local culture. Russell once spoke to a farmer who was picking up acreage left and right in an area that was known for picky landlords. He asked him how he was doing it. "Easy," he said. "Don't work on Sundays."

While it's a bit of an anecdote, the message is clear. Figure out what landlords like and give it to them. Do they want updates throughout the season? Maybe they expect perfectly square end rows?

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