Darren Frye

Water Street EDGE Farm Business Seminar – Willmar, MN on Feb. 16th-17th, 2015

Can you believe that it’s 2015 already! With a new year brings new changes and challenges in farming. The Water Street EDGE Farm Business Seminar provides educational sessions that will teach you the skills needed to successfully manage your farm operation in 2015 and beyond. Take a look at the two-day seminar schedule listed below.

Day One

  • 12:00-1:00 PM – Registration
  • 1:00-2:00 PM – Market Sense for a High-Frequency World
    Arlan Suderman, Senior Market Analyst at Water Street Solutions will build your understanding of the key drivers in today’s markets and help you consider how to approach market volatility – in such a wayFarm Business Seminar that your plan makes sense with the long-term goals of your operation.
  • 2:30-3:30 PM & 4:00-5:00 PM – Rebooting Farm Leadership
    Richard Hadden, CSP will provide current and future farm leaders with real-world applications of key leadership practices – as well as revealing the skills farm leaders will need to lead in a changing world.
  • 5:30-7:30 PM – Reception & Dinner
  • 7:30-8:30 PM- Keynote: It’s a Jungle Out There! Blazing New Trails for Agriculture
    Jolene Brown, CSP will explore the four major influencers that affect decision-making for ourselves and our customers. With lots of laughter, you’ll learn how to build important bridges for a joy-filled journey in today’s agricultural ‘jungle’!

Day Two

  • 8:00-10:00 AM – Straight Talk, Straight Actions: Agriculture in a Changing Economy
    Dr. David Kohl, Professor Emeritus of Ag Economics at Virginia Tech will help you consider what it will take to run your farm business successfully in the shifting ag economy.
  • 10:30-11:30 AM – Farm-Level Financials: Key Foundations for Decision-Making
    Mike Gustafson, Chief Operating Officer at Water Street Solutions will focus on farm financials and how you’re making decisions for your operation. Through a case study approach, this workshop-style session will apply concepts from Dr. Kohl’s economic view at the individual farm level.
  • 11:30-1:00 PM – Table Topics Lunch
    Back by popular demand, we’ll host Table Topics, a chance to sit and discuss topics of your choice in a small group setting.
  • 1:00-2:00 PM – Cultivating Communication: Grow Your Skills, Grow Your Edge
    Darren Frye, President and CEO at Water Street Solutions will share four core skills to use as you communicate each day with family members, non-family employees, vendors, advisors, landlords and lenders.

Corn Capital Co-Sponsoring

Corn Capital Innovations is proud to be co-sponsoring this event along with Water Street Solutions at the Best Western Plus in Willmar, MN. We are firm believers in the importance of continuing education to achieve future farm success. We encourage all farmers in our area to attend.

Develop Your EDGE

Develop your EDGE! Attend the Water Street EDGE Farm Business Seminar on February 16th-17th, 2015. Time is running out, register today!



Are you attending Water Street EDGE? What learning sessions are you most looking forward to?

Preparing for the Future: A Recap of Water Street Edge 2014

AdEdge with Corn Capital Innovations and Water Street SolutionsWhat is your farm’s strategy for the future?  Water Street Edge 2014 attendees at the Willmar, MN event on Februrary 17 & 18, 2014, were engaged in education and conversations around thinking to the future in your ag business.

Because farming is a business, we know how vital education is to running a successful farm operation. Having the opportunity to co-sponsor an Water Street Edge event with Water Street Solutions, right here in our area, made for an exciting two days of learning and networking with other farming businesses and families.

It was thrilling to see so many farmers at the event and we really enjoyed reconnecting with familiar faces and meeting new ones. For those of you who were unable to attend, we wanted to share a bit of information about what attendees learned during a few of the sessions.

Making Sense of the Markets by Arlan Suderman of Water Street Solutions


Arlan started off his segment with a good question for the audience; “What keeps me from being a better commodity marketer?.  Arlan presented on important topics and gave excellent advice, which also included the suggestion that wives make better marketers because they have not “attached” themselves to the crop.

Arlan Suderman’s presentation included:

  • World Economy – keep an eye on the Middle East.
  • Trends – take time weekly to learn about non-ag issues.
  • Global Protein Shortage
  • Global Weather Patterns

Arlan gave some final thoughts on 2014 weather as well.  “It is cold and below average on precipitation, but May looks good here in Minnesota.”

Top Ten Stupid Things Families Do to Break Up Their Business by Jolene Brown, CSP


Jolene is author of the book “Sometimes You Need More Than a 2×4!  How-to-tips to successfully grow a family business”.  Jolene talked about how precious and enduring a family farm is and how to successfully grow and profit from your family business.  Jolene provided valuable information and had the entire audience engaged.

Jolene discussed these Top Ten topics around Successfully Grow a Family Farm Business:

  1. Assuming all genetic relationships equal good working relationships
  2. Believing the business can financially support any and all family members who want to work together.
  3. Assuming others will/ should/ must change and not me.
  4. Presuming a conversation is a contract.
  5. Believing mind reading is an acceptable form of communication.
  6. Failing to build communication skills and meeting tools when the times are good so they’ll be in place to use when the times get tough.
  7. Ignoring the in-laws and off site family.
  8. Forgetting to use common courtesy.
  9. Having no legal and discussed estate, management transfer plan, or buy/sell agreement.
  10. Neglecting vital facts of fair and equal, paying cash for emotional debts, and failing to celebrate.

Memorable Quotes From Jolene

  • “Do you want a family-first business or a business-first family?”
  • “Acceptance in a family is unconditional.  Acceptance in a business is conditional.  It is not a birth right.”
  • “Parents don’t owe their kids a business.  We do owe our children:  morals, values, opportunity for an education, legal and discussed plans & listing of details.”/

Managing in the Great Super Cycle of Agriculture by Dr. David Kohl of Virginia Tech


Dr. David Kohl is Professor Emeritus, Agriculture and Applied Economics at Virginia Tech in Blacksburg, VA.  Dr. Kohl is known for his over 1,200 articles written about ag business and finance.  His presentation was based on Managing in the Great Ag Super Cycle.

Dr. Kohl covered topics that included:

  • Global Economy
  • Federal Reserve’s Interest Rate Barometer
  • US Farm Real Estate Values
  • Goal Setting
  • Working Capital
  • Family Living Budget
  • Business Equation for Success

Top Two Quotes from Dr. David Kohl:

  1. “I’m a firm believer in good old fashion goals setting! Setting goals help you focus.”
  2. “Your success is directly correlated with the people you do business with! Surround yourself with talented people.”

Landlords and Lenders:  Leveraging your Business Relationships


A panel of experts were brought together to discuss landlord & lender relationships. Attendees had the opportunity to interact and learn during the discussion.

Staggering Statistics:

  • 57 is the average age of a farmer.
  • 65 is the average age of a lander.
  • 40% of land is owned by women.
  • 42% of US farm land is rented or leased.
  • 60% of land rented or leased (110 million acres) will change hands over the next 20 years.

Take Home Thoughts from the Panelists

  • Communication is key!
  • Involve the next generation early and often.
  • Develop and share your farm story via newsletter, farm website or social media.
  • Gather a team of trusted advisors.

Farm Metrics You Can Count On by Darren Frye, Water Street Solutions President & CEO


Darren began by sharing a photo of the farm he grew up on and how his father measured success by how hard he worked, how many hours he put in and how many different crops he could grow.

Topics Darren Covered:

  1. Production
  2. Crop Insurance
  3. Marketing
  4. Finance

Take Home Quotes from Darren:

  • “All growth happens outside comfort zones! We get a lot of chances in other things in life but not farming.”
  • “Be a master of your assets not a slave to them!”
  • “If we are not changing our behavior based on what we’ve learned, we are wasting our time!”
  • “Measure what matters most! But remember that not everything can be measured & not everything that can be measured matters. “

Closing out Darren’s presentation, he talked about Don Mann of Seal Team Six.  “Reaching Beyond Boundaries” is a story about Don Mann who believes anything is possible if you “turn macro goals into micro goals.”  You can read this moving story in The Progressive Farmer, which includes the steps used by Seal Team Six to help achieve your goals.

Thank you from Corn Capital Innovations


Finally, we want to thank all of the speakers, panelists, attendees and coordinators of this event. It’s great to know that the valuable information presented will be utilized throughout the year by successful farm businesses in south-central Minnesota.

What educational information or quote did you find most useful? How have you incorporated the lessons shared into your farm business?