Kevin Dhuyvetter, farm-management specialist, Kansas State University, offers some pointers for networking groups to succeed. He’s involved in another peer-networking ag group: K-State’s Ag Economics Management, Analysis and Strategic Thinking program (MAST).

The common thread is bringing professionals together to challenge them on their management. He’s also aware of several others where producers meet regularly to challenge and learn from each other: Texas A&M’s Executive Program for Agricultural Producers (TEPAP), several Kansas dairy peer groups, a swine peer group and a wheat seminar group.

  • You need to have someone "champion" a group’s effort to keep it going, Dhuyvetter says. “I'm guessing there have been lots of groups like this start, only to fizzle because nobody stepped up to provide the leadership.” 
  • Group participants need to have open minds and a thick skin.
  • It helps when group participants aren’t neighbors where they’re directly competing for land. It’s easier to share with “strangers” than with neighbors.
  • A successful networking group has a variety of expert resources and doesn’t rely solely on just farmers, university researchers, Extension specialists or crop consultants.