Over Thanksgiving week I was a speaker at the 38th annual Missouri Governor’s Conference on Agriculture. This was held in Osage Beach in the Lake of the Ozarks.

I was honored to speak following a governor who had grown up on a farm and had interest in the future of agriculture. Politicians often “talk the talk” but do not “walk the talk.” It appears this governor has a capable staff that is attempting to make a difference for Missouri agriculture.

At the conference I was asked to discuss entrepreneurial skills that would be needed to move the agricultural industry forward.

First one must have vision of what will or will not work in your specific area. “Build it and they will come” worked in the Field of Dreams, but having a strategic location, or a unique resource, i.e. human, natural, or a combination of the two, will be critical.

To succeed in the next decade, one must keep overhead cost per output unit at a minimum.

Third, knowing the cost of production and whether it will be viable given a wide range of marketing and economic conditions will be necessary.

Any entrepreneur will tell you capital is the lifeblood. It’s a requirement to have the necessary working capital and access to borrowed and equity capital providing at least a 5 percent return.

Finally, planning is necessary, but execution of the game plan determines the winners and losers, and that’s what makes entrepreneurship special.

Side Note:

I was so impressed with the number of FFA chapters, state officers and chapter advisors in attendance. These kids can really get adults charged up!

My e-mail address is:sullylab@vt.edu

Editors' note: Dave Kohl, The Corn and Soybean Digest Trends Editor, is an ag economist at Virginia Tech. He recently completed a sabbatical working with the Royal Bank of Canada. He is now back at Virginia Tech with his academic appointment, which is teaching, extension, and applied research.

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