Another Successful Conference

February 1, 2018

On January 30 & 31 we held our eighth annual Risk & Financial Management Conference in Manhattan, KS. We had the largest crowd we’ve ever had at one of our conferences and in my opinion the best lineup of speakers. Perhaps this was largely due to my limited 15-minute presentation! As you might imagine, many of the speakers talked a great deal about NAFTA and the importance of international trade to the ag industry. I’m pretty sure by 10:00 on Wednesday we all had NAFTA fatigue. I had a nice conversation with Brian Hancock of Kansas City Southern after his presentation and we both agreed that the silver lining to this trade turmoil is that a bunch of us in the ag industry are learning a lot more about trade than we ever knew before. Knowledge is power and perhaps we’ve taken for granted the export markets from which we benefit that were built over the course of decades.

Gary Lezak then took us on a different path of trepidation and got us all at least a little concerned about the current growing drought and what that might portend for the 2018 growing season. As he said, there is still a lot of time for this trend to change, but it’s not a great place for us to be as we enter these important upcoming months.

As has become an annual tradition, Bob Schwarz and Scott Taddiken (along with a new speaking partner, Emily Donaldson) enlightened us all with a thought-provoking discussion about the various end-of-life perils that can threaten a family farm. These issues are never fun to think about, but this trio did a great job of making it light-hearted and practical. I hope they managed to motivate at least one or two families in the crowd go home and take real action toward planning for their future.

As I mingled with attendees and shared a table with different people during meals, I have to say I was very heartened by the positive feedback I received from several clients. As a person managing a consulting business I always have several goals in mind regarding growth, profits, efficiencies, etc. But, it is always at the top of our mind to be creating an industry-leading, world-class experience for our clients. We want our customer-partners to view us as honest, genuine, trustworthy and respectful providers. That begins with the very first time we step on someone’s farm to introduce ourselves until the very last time we get the pleasure of working with them. And it is immensely rewarding to hear directly from clients that they see and experience that. It’s great to know that those efforts are shining through.

With that, I would like to say thank you to all of those who trust us to handle your crop insurance needs and especially to those who were willing to provide that positive feedback. I would also encourage anyone reading this to make sure and compliment those you do business with when you are pleased with their service. I can assure you it means a lot to us and it helps motivate us to continue to live up to that high standard.

Here's hoping you all have a safe, happy, healthy and prosperous 2018.



Mike Scherer
President - Ag Risk Solutions

Posted on Feb 01 at 15:06