Age as of March 1, 2019: 39
Residence Location: Lincoln, KS
Place of Operation: Lincoln, KS
Six years before returning to the family farm, I worked as an analyst for the Buxton Company, a business that uses data mining and customer analytics to help retailers, restaurants, and even lenders determine the best places to locate. I built and tested predictive sales models using logistic regression techniques that would maximize revenue within each market as well as nationwide. Since 2009 I have been managing the farm full-time in partnership with my father.
Education: B.S. in Agribusiness & M.S. in AgEcon both from Kansas State University
None currently. I have been nominated for the Kansas Farm Management Association Board, but elections won’t be held until the end of January. I had served on the county Farm Bureau Association board for several years until recently.
Strategic & Visionary Thinking:
I think this is one of a farmer’s greatest assets, given the uncertainty we face year-to-year from markets and Mother Nature. But in my opinion, the best example of our ability to think strategically is how we begin a farming or ranching operation. Even now, as my personal operation continues to transition from one generation to the next, this kind of thinking is critical. Dreaming, gut checks and collaboration with others is necessary for fruitful visionary thinking.
I have no experience governing the world of big business. My talents and skills are currently being used to help govern nothing more than the local church and my immediate family, both of which I consider very dear. I understand the benefits of governance and oversight by a board (instead of unilateral decision-making) and am ready to work with others in maintaining the integrity of the Farm Credit System.
I keep the books for our farming partnership and the local church. This involves timely bill-paying, projecting cash flow, creating and reviewing budgets, and preparing and assessing financial statements for the ranch. I also prepare tax documents and not-for-profit filings for the church. It is a great honor and responsibility to be a steward of others’ money.
I believe in quality and not quantity when it comes to communication. You won’t find me on Facebook or any other so-called social media. I prefer face-to-face communication over all other forms, where every intonation or gesture helps to get the point across. Interactive listening is a skill I’ve cultivated through my marital years. I served as the Public Relations Director for the College of Agriculture Student Council at KSU, where I kept the student body up-to-date through a weekly flyer.
The real value of developing and using technology is to increase our efficiency and thus, our production. Sometimes so-called technology actually impedes our productivity, or at the very least doesn’t improve it. While cell phones have proven invaluable for saving time and money in the case of breakdowns on the farm, no one really needs auto steer on a lawn tractor. Our pursuits will help define which forms of technology will be beneficial and which will just waste time and money.
Human Resource Management:
I have no experience with HRM within a corporation. I find this subject the most intriguing, though, and consider it the surest way for American AgCredit to continue to thrive. We must attract and retain people who are knowledgeable, passionate, and honest so that we can meet the financial needs of producers for years to come.
Risk Management: I tend to be somewhat tolerant of risk, and I imagine most farmers would say the same given the riskiness of their chosen profession. Within our own partnership, we have primarily relied on enterprise diversification to manage risk. We have balanced owning land with renting and owning livestock with custom feeding, for example. Hedging and forward contracting have played a part, too.
Unless you’ve spent time learning to follow the direction of others, it’s hard to know how to be an effective leader. But once you’ve matured, I believe you have a duty to assume a leadership role for the sake of those who come after you. I lived at Smith Scholarship House at KSU, and only after completing my first three years did I feel equipped to do the office of President, justice. During my 10 years managing the farm, I have built the foundation needed for success as a director of AAC.
Why do I want to be involved with the Board of Directors for American AgCredit? I recognize the importance of fiscally strong lenders to the future of agriculture. The Farm Credit System has been a boon to farmers for a full century, and I want to see my young kids be able to succeed in agriculture when it’s their turn. Now that I have experienced the struggles that the first few years in production agriculture bring, I am ready to put that perspective to work in a way that reaches farm families all over American AgCredit’s territory. I also believe that the board could use an injection of youthfulness. I see a need for northern Kansas to be represented.
Why am I qualified? The education I received while at KSU ought to serve the board well. I earned a B.S. and M.S. in Agriculture in the span of 5 years, as a student in the Distinguished Undergraduate Program. For the next 5 years I worked for the premier Customer Analytics company in the U.S. where I built predictive models for retailers and restaurants. For the past 10 years I have devoted myself to carrying on the family business of feeding the world.