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The FAMILY FARM MASTERCLASS will equip farmers and agricultural leaders to professionalize their management practices as well as prepare them for future growth and transitions. High caliber speakers will be in Des Moines, Iowa to present with you about how to take your management skills to the next level. Most importantly, attendees come from all over the country, looking to network with like-minded farmers and operators.

Our Masterclass is split up between two days. The first day will be a deep dive into best management strategies, corporate governance and succession planning. Part of the day will be an interactive session providing real case studies and analysis that you can incorporate in your own operation.

Day two will feature high profile national speakers to discuss various facets of becoming a more professional farm operator. Topics will include risk management strategies, entrepreneurship, leadership and succession planning. The day will conclude with our keynote speaker, Willie Robertson, from Duck Dynasty, discussing the dynamics of working with family, building a legacy and family business transitions. This will followed up by a private Meet & Greet with Mr. Robertson for select participants.

February 21st, 2025 – February 22nd, 2025

This is an intense, two-day session in a large class-room like setting for those interested in taking their operation to the next level. Please review which ticket option best fits your needs:

Single Ticket: $600

Each additional family member: $200

Commstock Report Subscribers receive a $100 discount

Please email info@commstock.com for group pricing or media inquiries.

DAILY SCHEDULE

The 2025 FAMILY FARM MASTERCLASS is sure to provide a large crowd in downtown Des Moines.

REGISTER TODAY!

Origins of the Family Farm Masterclass

This conference was developed by proponents of family farms that understand the challenges of keeping the family farm running. Only 30% of family owned businesses survive the transfer from first generation to second generation. It is vital that farmers have the tools they need to constantly be innovating and improving their operation in a highly competitive market. As consolidation moves through the agriculture industry, farmers need a program that allows them to pursue continuing education and develop a peer network to help them maintain their competitiveness and to pass their farm operation off to the next generation.

The Family Farm Masterclass will provide some of the best speakers and educators through which attendees can expect to get thought-provoking content that will provide their farm operation with fresh ideas. Discussion will center around succession planning, innovation, and best management practices.

SPEAKERS

R. L. “DICK” WITTMANN

Dick Wittman is board chair and former manager of a 20,000-acre dry land crop, range cattle and timber operation in northern Idaho. Management of the farm has transitioned to a partnership of three other family partners. He also provides private consulting to farm, ranch, and agricultural support businesses.

In 1980 he joined the family farm in Idaho and established a private consulting practice. Wittman has worked with numerous farm clients and professional practitioners, conducted seminars, facilitated strategic planning, and taught college classes throughout the U. S., Canada, and Australia. He specializes in financial management, process improvement, developing management systems, business succession planning and conflict resolution. In recent years he has focused on train-the-trainer workshops to expand the international resource base of consultants who can assist family businesses in agricultural finance and transition issues. In January 2004, he published Building an Effective Farm Management System, a guidebook designed to help commercial-size family farm businesses put in place professional governance and transition processes. An update of this guidebook was released in 2021 and is available in online and hardcopy versions.

In 1996 he became a director and in 2006 served as president of the Farm Financial Standards Council, a group of farm management and financial experts who have been working for 40 years to professionalize farm accounting and financial analysis processes. The council released national guidelines for Managerial Accounting in 2006. Wittman is a nationally recognized educator on this topic.

Wittman has served on the faculty for the TEPAP Ag Executive Program in Austin, Texas since 2003, and is an adjunct faculty member of Texas A&M University. He is also a founding member of familybusiness.ag, a peer group of consulting professionals promoting excellence and integrity and empowering continuity in the agricultural family business consulting profession. In 2014 he joined the Board of Advisors for the Farm Journal Legacy Institute and serves on the FarmHouse Fraternity National Foundation Board of Trustees.

ZACH JOHNSON

Known to his 1 million+ followers on YouTube as the “Millennial Farmer”, Zach is a 6th-generation farmer who’s spent his life growing, working, and learning on his family’s farm. With growing consumer awareness about where their food comes from, Zach has identified the need for an independent voice from the front lines of agriculture. Zach actively promotes agriculture by sharing his day-to-day experiences in the agriculture world while providing farmer-to-farmer education to help facilitate a collaborative conversation between farmers and the public.

His wit and dry sense of humor appeal to children and adults alike. A product of the millennial generation, his appreciation of new technology blends with his old-fashioned work ethic, and he offers a unique ability to deliver his message in a way that resonates with lifelong farmers as well as those with no knowledge of agriculture.

ROB SHARKEY

Rob Sharkey is not your average 5th generation Illinois grain farmer. Better known as the SharkFarmer he is a risk taker and out of the box thinker who believes everyone has a story to tell. His authentic interview style, ability to tackle controversial issues and share the triumphs and struggles of the modern farmer and business owner has catapulted him onto Sirius XM, PBS, Acres TV and 8 Seasons and counting of SharkFarmer TV on RFDTV. His unfiltered words resonate with 1.7 million listeners weekly around the world.

ZOE KENT

Zoe Kent is an 8th-generation grain farmer in Ohio. After getting an agribusiness degree from The Ohio State University, she returned to the farm to work alongside her dad Mickey. With Mickey’s retirement at the end of 2021, Zoe is entering in her fourth year of operating Kent Family Farms. Zoe posts family friendly, funny farming videos under the handle @farmwithzoe on social media and uses her platform to connect with others in the industry and spread a positive message about ag to consumers.

WILLIE ROBERTSON

Willie Robertson is best known for starring in and executive producing A&E’s Duck Dynasty. He is a New York Times best-selling author of several books including his newest release Gospeler. He is the founder of Buck Commander and CEO of Duck Commander. Willie expanded his family’s small business from a living room operation to a company for all things outdoors and has sold millions of duck calls and merchandise worldwide.

He appeared as the “Mallard” on Masked Singer and many other TV shows, movies, and platforms. Willie also hosted a talk show and podcast. Willie has continued to be an avid outdoorsman and has founded a Sportsman Camp for young people near his home at Camp ChYoCa in Calhoun, LA.

While the Robertsons’ story is an excellent example of entrepreneurship and dedication, it is at its core built on faith and family. Willie continues to teach the Gospel to tens of thousands of people worldwide. Willie and Korie live near their children and grandchildren in West Monroe, Louisiana, where he enjoys cooking the family meals.

MARLIN BOHLING

Marlin Bohling was raised on a diversified family farm on the Kansas/Nebraska border near the small town of Byron, NE. After managing the farm operation for over two decades, he gradually transitioned into a career as a farm broadcaster beginning in 1996 with his first station, KFRM, based in Clay Center, KS. In 2002, he moved to Raleigh, NC where he worked for legendary news talk station, WPTF, and its sister company, the Southern Farm Network. In 2012, he accepted a position back in the Plains as a farm broadcaster with KRVN and the Rural Radio Network based in Lexington, NE. Then in 2014, he gained a national audience when he went to work for RFD-TV and Rural Radio SiriusXM channel 147 with studio operations based in Nashville, TN.

Throughout his broadcasting career, he continually honed his skills focusing on commodity markets as he interacted with numerous well known market analysts from around the nation live every day. He has been widely heralded for his easy-going style of interviewing laced with hard hitting, thought provoking questions of his guests while keeping the audience engaged with clever, light hearted banter and ad lib discussion of breaking news items.

Bohling was the 2006 recipient of the prestigious “Oscar in Agriculture” Award given at the National Association of Farm Broadcasting (NAFB) convention in Kansas City. He has also been the recipient of numerous awards including being the winner of the NAFB national Marketcast Award for radio broadcasters as well as its companion category of Video Marketcast Award for television broadcasters.

He has served in multiple leadership capacities including as Co-Chair of the NAFB New Service Committee, president of the North Carolina Farmwriters and Broadcasters organization, and president of the Wake County (NC) Agribusiness Council.

Besides his broadcasting and production agriculture career, he has also been heavily involved with agricultural web programming, podcasting, and freelance work utilizing his own home-based studio.

DAVID KRUSE

David Kruse is founder and Chairman of Commstock Investments, an agricultural risk management company that provides commodity brokerage, advisory services and crop insurance. With customers in over 30 states, Commstock helps farmers across the country manage their production marketing risk.

In the past 40 years, Mr. Kruse has produced The Commstock Report, an opinionated ag commentary and market analysis available daily on many radio stations covering the greater Midwest. The Commstock Report has also been delivered electronically by email or through DTN subscription since 1985 to thousands of subscribers across the U.S. and Canada. David has authored over 20,000 Commstock Reports and has hosted the Family Farm Masterclass, a professional development conference advocating for American agriculture and the family farm.

David Kruse has been actively engaged in production agriculture since 1973 and he continues to manage his family’s corn/soybean farms in Northwest Iowa. David has also been an outspoken proponent of agriculture and has used his market advisory service as a platform to advocate for the American Producer. He is a frequent keynote speaker at major U.S. agricultural conferences.

Eric Relph

Eric Relph is the Branch Manager for the Royal, Iowa Commstock office. Mr. Relph works with grain and livestock farmers across the country managing price risk management. He is a native of western Kansas, born in a family of farmers, cattlemen and business owners. Being from the heart of feedlot country, Mr. Relph has also positioned himself as an expert on livestock risk protection insurance.

JOE CAMP

Joe Camp is the Director of Managed Programs at Commstock Investments. Mr. Camp provides risk management for producers across the Midwest. In addition to being a weekly contributor to the Commstock Report, he also provides exclusive commodity analysis to the Illinois Farm Bureau. He is a published writer and accomplished presenter on agricultural markets. He manages the Commstock branch office in Bloomington, Il.

Accommodations

Marriott Des Moines Downtown
700 Grand Ave | Des Moines, Iowa 50309

A block of rooms will be held February 21st to February 22nd at the Marriott Des Moines Downtown for a discounted nightly rate $153 plus tax for Masterclass guests and attendees. This special room rate will be available until January 31st, 2025 or until the group block is sold-out, whichever comes first.

Please make your reservations early. Rooms booked after January 31st, will be based on availability and not subject to the group discount rate.

Click Here for Reservations

To make reservations by phone, call: (515) 245-5500

SPONSORS

The 2025 Family Farm Masterclass is a special opportunity to increase brand awareness and discover new leads in a professional conference like setting with hundreds of attendees. Past sponsors include:

CONTACT

to learn more about sponsorship opportunities that include:

  • Peer networking opportunities with professional farmers and prospective customers
  • Increase your brand exposure in association with a leading ag risk management business at a highly regarded farmer conference
  • Utilize booth spaces to display your companies products and meet with your target audience

For more information on sponsorship opportunities, please contact Katie Geerdes at 712-227-1110 or katieg@commstock.com.

Requests by media can also be directed towards katieg@commstock.com

ABOUT THE HOST

Commstock Investments is a leading provider of commodity brokerage, market intelligence, livestock risk protection and crop insurance through the United States. The Commstock Report provides market research combined with colorful ag based commentary defending the American Family Farm. A version of it can be listened to and/or read on radio stations and newspapers from Minnesota down to Kansas. You can also subscribe to the Commstock Channel on YouTube providing digital media coverage on the markets and other agricultural issues. Commstock is the host of the Family Farm Masterclass, a non-profit cutting-edge program designed to help agriculture producers become better managers and grain marketers.

For more information, visit us at www.commstock.com.

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