To succeed in crop production today, Purdue Extension agricultural economist Bruce Erickson says farmers must be on top of economics and technology, which is why these strategies will be key elements in the 2011 Top Farmer Crop Workshop.

The workshop will be held July 17-20 on Purdue University's West Lafayette campus. Most events will be in the Deans Auditorium of Pfendler Hall. The event will feature more than 20 speakers from academic institutions, agribusinesses and farms from the Midwest. 

"Farmers know that to succeed, they have keep costs in check and maximize yields," said Erickson, workshop coordinator. "The workshop blends production information with the financial, strategic and marketing aspects of commercial agriculture."

Topics include farmland values, land rental choices, herbicide tolerance traits and human resources. Risk management and commodity prices will be key topics of discussion.

 "People want to know if the current agricultural market is sustainable - whether these prices are a short-time bubble or a new price plateau," Erickson said. "With increased crop and input prices, the financial side is bigger; if prices shift, there can be much more at stake."

But with growing world demand for food and increased interest in bioenergy as driving forces, Erickson and other experts expect strong agricultural markets in the future.  An Illinois ag economist will talk about how far into the future farmers can anticipate these prices.

Another topic addressed at the workshop will be testing to determine how products and methods are performing on the farm. 

"The comparisons that farmers do on their farms need to be set up right to ensure any differences seen are valid," Erickson said. "Farmers are interested in testing practices or products on their farms before investing heavily; they need to know if it's really going to make a difference in productivity or efficiency."

Other featured workshops include:

  • "Foliar Fungicide Applications in Corn," Paul Vincelli, University of Kentucky Plant Pathologist.
  • "How to Manage Your Soil Piggy Bank," James Camberato, Purdue Extension agronomist.
  • "Putting Macroeconomics in Your Marketing Strategy," Mike Zuzolo, president of Global Commodity Analytics and Consulting LLC
  • "Reinventing the Farm," Lori Lennard, chief operating officer of Lennard Ag Company

Continuing education units are available for certified crop advisers. Cost of the workshop is $400 for the first attendee from a farm and $200 for each additional attendee from the same farm. For more information and for registration materials, visit http://www.agecon.purdue.edu/commercialag/progevents/topfarmer.html or contact Erickson at 765-494-9557, berickso@purdue.edu