Top Crop Manager

Features Business & Policy Business Management
Perth County farmer wins AMI challenge

Jan. 3, 2013, Guelph, ON - A cash crop farmer from Perth County is the winner of the inaugural Most Profitable Acre Challenge, organized by the Agricultural Management Institute (AMI). Mark Brock placed first in the business skills competition, which looked at criteria like input costs, production practices, yield, marketing tactics and business management practices to determine the most profitable acre in corn or soybean production.

“The business side of cropping is just as important as actually growing the crop. I’m already working on cost of production and developing marketing plans for the next season,” says Brock, who farms 1,500 acres near Staffa with his wife. “I track things like costs, yields and market prices and that has a pretty big impact on decisions we make on how to market our crops.”

Brock credits attending the annual Southwest Agricultural Conference, as well as other meetings with a business focus, with keeping him up to date on farm business management practices. He also works closely with his accountants and appreciates being able to share ideas with neighbouring farmers and others he respects in the industry.

To participate in the challenge, farmers had to provide information regarding field size and location, certification of yield, hybrid/variety used and cost, crop protection regime and costs, tillage practices, fertilizer program and costs and any custom application and scouting costs, as well as any relevant business management activities. The grand prize is a trip to attend the 2013 International Farm Management Association congress in Warsaw, Poland.

“I’m looking forward to meeting other farmers from around the world. Even though you come from different areas and grow different crops, you share a lot of common issues,” says Brock. “I’m also interested to learn more about agriculture in the European Union and how farmers work within their much stricter environmental regulations.”

All entrants had a written marketing plan for their crops, which included a variety of marketing methods such as forward pricing, on-farm storage to capture prices at a later date and cash contracts. AMI hopes to make the challenge an annual contest to demonstrate the importance of being able to calculate the most profitable acre, not just growing the highest yield.

“We are grateful to all the farmers who entered the challenge. It’s not always easy to share your production information with others and we appreciate the leadership shown by those who took that step this year,” adds AMI Executive Director Ryan Koeslag.

For more on the Agricultural Management Institute, visit www.takeanewapproach.ca.