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Episode 56: Insights and Advice from Young Farmers at the 2024 Emerge Experience Conference

At the 2024 Emerge Experience Conference, AgCredit had the opportunity to gain insights and advice from a group of farmers who are navigating the ever-changing landscape of agriculture as young beginning farmers. 

From the importance of building strong connections to effectively managing expenses, this blog post delves into some of the valuable lessons shared by these farmers. 

Have a strong support system

Having a close-knit network of like-minded individuals is just one aspect of farming that the young farmers say has been crucial to the success of their operations. They meet regularly for breakfast and make the most of any opportunity to attend conferences together. 

“We all have the goal of making our operations bigger,” said Ryan Mohr. This shared mindset allows them to bounce ideas off one another. 

Tristen Miller, another farmer in the group, echoed Ryan’s sentiment. “You can’t really say anything wrong. You can’t really have a bad idea because… you kind of just work through it together.” 

Farming can be lonely, but their camaraderie has allowed them to foster an environment where they can tackle challenges and navigate uncertainties together. 

Despite their farms being spread across different areas of the county, the farmers say they’ve been able to learn from one another. 

“You get to see how different things are happening across the county,” Tristen noted. 

Beyond their farms, their strong friendship has extended into connections across the agricultural industry where they’ve fostered a network of peers from around the state and nation. 

Each of the farmers highlighted the importance of attending events and conferences to not only connect and network with peers, but to also gain valuable insights into different farming practices and challenges.

Find a mentor

Having a mentor can make all the difference. When asked about their own mentors, the farmers identified their grandfathers as their mentors. 

For Ryan, his grandfather was a valuable source of information and always had an answer to his questions or the willingness to find one. 

Alek Bowersock shared how observing and learning from his grandfather’s actions throughout his life helped shape his own approach to farming. 

Tristen considers the older generation of farmers he has worked for and learned from as his mentors, too. “They’ve been through so much,” explained Tristen. “If they don’t know the answer, they’re going to figure it out… they’ve experienced it so they can help guide you.” 

While these individuals can provide a wealth of knowledge and experience, Ryan also emphasized the value of seeking advice from those outside the industry. 

“Find somebody that gets you… whether it’s your ag lender or your accountant or whatever it may be. Ask advice from outside the industry,” said Ryan. 

Seeking advice from diverse perspectives is important, especially when making significant decisions. Leverage the knowledge and experience of others to make informed decisions. 

Stay informed

Staying informed in today’s constantly evolving world is crucial. When asked how they consume industry news, the farmers' responses varied. 

Ryan noted that he reads magazines, while Tristen highlighted social media and podcasts as the particular avenues he turns to to expand his knowledge. 

“Sometimes I don’t mind turning to social media,” said Tristen. He highlighted that social media platforms like Facebook and TikTok can serve as a space for connecting with groups and communities. 

Podcasts have emerged as a popular choice too. Tristen noted that it’s easy to tune into a podcast while working long hours in the field. “I can sit in a tractor all day long planting beans and listen to all of them.” 

Alek offered a different avenue, highlighting the importance of firsthand experiences. “You need to get out in the world… see the faces, have hands-on experiences,” explained Alek. Attending conferences and engaging with industry professionals can provide valuable insights. 

Manage expenses

With fluctuating prices and changes in the industry, recognizing margins, understanding inputs, and being cognizant of spending will be crucial. 

Tristen highlighted prioritizing needs and wants and the importance of carefully filling out projected budgets and continuously paying attention to expenses. 

Looking at the year ahead, the farmers echoed Tristen’s thoughts. “Have a plan in place and make sure you have a budget,” explained Ryan. “Be ready to take the opportunities if they come.” 

Overall, by building a strong support system, seeking guidance from mentors, staying informed, and managing expenses effectively, these young beginning farmers have found ways to overcome the obstacles that come with starting a farming operation. 

Here’s a glance at this episode:

  • [01:22] Each farmer introduces themselves and their background in agriculture. 
  • [03:27] The farmers discuss the importance of having a supportive friend group and networking.
  • [10:10] The farmers talk about some of the challenges they faced when they were starting out. 
  • [18:00] The farmers explain why their grandfathers have each been their greatest mentors. 
  • [20:18] The farmers chat about how they like to consume industry news and stay informed. 
  • [23:42] Each shares the ag-related topics they’d like to hear and learn more about. 
  • [25:32] They share their thoughts on the upcoming year, sharing advice for other farmers.


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Voiceover (00:08):Welcome to AgCredit Said It. In each episode, our hosts sit down with experts from all parts of the agriculture industry to bring you insights and must have information on all things, from farming to finances and everything in between.


Phil Young (00:29):This is Phil Young coming to you from the 2024 Emerge Experience. What a great, great event this has been. Over 150 young beginning farmers coming together to network, and immerse themselves into an agenda with a variety of topics, from establishing business entities in grain marketing to making social media work for you. Very timely topics. The challenges young beginning farmers face are varied and can include access to land, financial resources, knowledge of practices, and market opportunities.


(00:57):Despite these obstacles, many young farmers are passionate about their work and are dedicated to making a positive impact on the ag industry. Many surround themselves with a support system of fellow farmers to collaborate with, maybe purchase equipment together, or just to be a sounding board for each other. With me today is a group of spirited young farmers who seem to have a support system with each other. Welcome, guys. Welcome to the podcast.


Alek Bowersock (01:19):Hey, thanks for having us on.


Tristen Miller (01:20):Yeah, thanks for letting us join you.


Phil Young (01:22):Good, Good. Yeah. We're actually at the Emerge conference right now, so we snagged you guys to do an interview, so I want to get started here. I want to go around the table. We got three guys here. Introduce yourselves, tell me a little bit about yourself and your operation and then just kind of maybe why you came today.


Alek Bowersock (01:38):I guess I'll start first here. I'm Alek Bowersock. I'm 23 years old. I farm with my grandfather, my uncle, and my dad helps part-time. We raise popcorn, soybeans, seed soybeans. Occasionally wheat and try to stay away from field corn, but once in a while we'll dabble in that.


Phil Young (01:54):Gotcha. Nice.


Alek Bowersock (01:55):I stay pretty busy on the farm. I farm full-time. I did go to college over in Lima at UNOH, got my bachelor's degree over there.


Phil Young (02:02):What'd you study over there?


Alek Bowersock (02:03):I got my Associate's Degree in Agricultural Technology and then got my Bachelor's in Business.


Phil Young (02:09):Nice. Good good. Well, welcome. Okay.


Tristen Miller (02:12):I'm Tristen Miller, from the same area around Van Wert there. We farm mainly corn and soybeans, but we do dabble in a little bit of wheat and popcorn as well. Went to college down there at Wright State for four years for ag business. Did some seed sales for a while and then now currently just staying home and farming full-time. Work for a couple of guys right around the corner from me and able to pursue the full-time farming job.


Phil Young (02:43):Nice. Good.


Ryan Mohr (02:45):I'm Ryan Moore, I farm with my grandfather and two uncles, Van Wert County as well. Corn, beans and cover crops. I guess I would consider myself an old young farmer. I'm over 30 now, but I still hang out with these guys and still have the opportunity to learn every day about this profession we're in.


Phil Young (03:05):Nice. And the great thing is, you guys have a group of guys and you guys come to different events, you've come to this, I know you guys went to the Ohio Farm Bureau Young Ag Professionals conference together. I guess it seems like you guys are very collaborative together. Can you guys talk about your friendship and just maybe how you guys collaborate and try to just do the best you can in your operations, and how that works?


Tristen Miller (03:27):I mean truly, it's honestly quite a blessing, the friendship that we do have and the big group that we have. I mean, we go to breakfast once a week. We take advantage of going to any of these trips together. There's usually the occasional, maybe once or twice a week, we're going out to eat even after we see each other on a Wednesday or something. I mean we're together a lot and it's honestly, it's pretty great to have that because you can always just talk about anything and everything. Kind of helps get you through a lot of stuff like what's going on, what are you doing? What do you think's going to happen? And I think it's kind of a great way of having a support system that is just, you can't really say anything wrong. You can't really have a bad idea because I mean you kind of just work through it together and it's pretty fun really.


Ryan Mohr (04:25):I'll tag onto that and I agree with everything you say, but also I think we're all like-minded. We all have the goal of making our operations bigger. We're wanting to grow and we're all neighbors, but at the same time, we make it work. Like Tristen said, we bounce ideas off each other and we all have grown to grow and I don't know how we do it, but we make it work.


Tristen Miller (04:49):And it's kind of fun too because all of us that are in the friend group, we all farm in different areas. Like, I'm the northern guy. You get to see how different things are happening across the county. I mean everybody, we got a friend over west, we got a west side covered. Our friends are from everywhere in the county, so you can see almost the entire county of what's going on with neighbors, their farms and stuff, it's kind of what's happening.


Alek Bowersock (05:27):While we're all dabbling in farming here, we're not always talking about that, but when we do, we can see what we're doing on each other's operations. Obviously, we're not telling everything, but like Tristen said, we have buddies everywhere. We got a buddy down in Darke County, he's a huge hog farmer and it's interesting to see his perspective on things. He calls us the lazy grain farmers because he's working. So Jacob Wuebker, if you're hearing this, that's you. So he's out there busting his butt in the cold and we're in the shop or semi hauling grain and we can work eight to five and quit where he's got to be up at six to feed the hogs, on Sundays too.


Ryan Mohr (06:09):And I think that was part of your original question, like the YAP conference, why do we go to all this stuff together and it's to network.


Phil Young (06:15):Sure.


Ryan Mohr (06:15):There are guys all around the state we have connections with that we can call up. If one of these guys might not have my answer, I don't think I should ask them a question because it's too personal operation or whatever, I call one of them guys and it'll come right back at you with an answer most of the time.


Phil Young (06:30):Do you guys think that there are a lot of other people doing what you're doing, maybe they have their own network of friends that they're collaborating like you guys are, do you guys think you're unique?


Alek Bowersock (06:43):I'll say yes and no because we graduated from Lincolnview, that's a very ag school, I'll say. You go to Van Wert and it's not so much ag related. You go to a city in Columbus, say you just go to Dublin. You got people there that, you know, ag-minded individuals, and we all came back to farm. It's maybe yes and no. So I think we're pretty fortunate enough to have buddies that we all came back to farm and we still went away to college, but some of us went away to college and now we're still buddies.


Tristen Miller (07:12):I would agree with that too because don't get me wrong, I know every group, there's a lot of other groups out there I'm sure, but I think we're almost unique in the size, I feel like. Whenever we load up to go somewhere, it's taking a van or two or three cars when a lot of other guys are showing up in one truck and there's just a couple of them, but we're going somewhere and we're taking six of us, and eight. I feel like we're a larger group that makes us unique, but I know that there are friendship groups everywhere.


Alek Bowersock (07:47):By all means, yeah.


Ryan Mohr (07:48):We're completely across the nation, and social media has helped that. I have guys on Twitter I've met, and this was from the golden days 10 years ago or so when Twitter was first big or whatever, but I still keep in contact with them.


Alek Bowersock (08:01):It's now called X.


Ryan Mohr (08:02):X, sorry. Thank you.


Alek Bowersock (08:04):He's old.


Tristen Miller (08:04):Dating him right here.


Ryan Mohr (08:04):I'm old. I'm real old.


Alek Bowersock (08:06):He's old, he can't help it.


Phil Young (08:07):What's Snapchat?


Ryan Mohr (08:09):But yeah, that is exactly what it is and I think you just need to find like-minded individuals that all have the same thought process. And you go to an event like YAP or here, there's a hundred of us here, we all have the same goal and it's across the nation like that, I do think so.


Phil Young (08:25):Yeah. It sounds like you guys need to maybe invest in a bus. You guys are-


Alek Bowersock (08:28):Oh, we always talk about getting a mom car, like a Denali or something.


Tristen Miller (08:32):We discussed a mini bus on our way to Columbus, but it was a thought for a few days-


Alek Bowersock (08:36):We did take a mini bus. Ryan actually rented one or the Farm Bureau I think did. We took that down to YAP and we had a good time in it.


Phil Young (08:44):Yeah, got a taste of what that's like.


Tristen Miller (08:46):Well, and like Ryan said, with social media too, when it's farming season, like hardcore farming season, and we're maybe not hanging out like we usually do, the Snapchat groups and stuff like that, it just never stops. If you don't see each other, you're on Snapchat sending videos of something funny or saying, "I can't make it out to the field today." It just never ends, it seems like. When we're apart, we're talking and then when we're together obviously we're talking, but it's just like social media has helped out a lot.


(09:19):And I think Alek does a great job too with TikTok stuff as far as... Kind of going down a different path here, but showing how things work and what we're doing and stuff like that. I feel like that's a great way to be a part of solving the problem of the miscommunication between urban and rural stuff. The last speaker we listened to was talking about some of that and I think Alek does a great job with that stuff too.


Phil Young (09:48):It seems like too, I mean agriculture, if you're on the farm, you're usually by yourself or you're with maybe one other person. Maybe it's a family member. Whereas I give an example of myself, I go to work and when I'm on my in-town job, I've got eight other people I'm working with. Agriculture can be a lonely gig. When you're actually out there doing it, you're kind of by yourself.


Alek Bowersock (10:08):Yeah, you, yourself, and I. Talk to yourself.


Phil Young (10:10):Yeah, right. Just to have you guys be able to text each other and commiserate on some stuff that doesn't go well, but also celebrate your successes. You just don't see that every day. So it's good to have that network. Good. So one of the things we wanted to chat about is you guys, you're starting out and what challenges are you facing or did you face maybe starting out?


Ryan Mohr (10:39):Well, there's a lot…


Phil Young (10:40):That goes into that, yeah.


Alek Bowersock (10:41):Big question.


Ryan Mohr (10:45):Like I said, I'm one of the old guys now of the young group. I've been at it for 14 years, but when I first started out, the inexperience was the biggest hurdle to get over. And I'm not saying that I felt inexperienced, but it was when I would go to a potential landowner or I would go talk to somebody that would be retiring or something that it was, "Oh, you're too young." They just kind of throw you under the rug a little bit maybe, even though you had been doing it your whole life as a kid. But that was one of my biggest challenges, I think.


Alek Bowersock (11:16):I'll piggyback on Ryan there. I mean you go into a meeting at the cafe in Decatur. I don't know why I used that for an instance, but I did. So you go there, the average age is over 50 and if we go, we're twenties, thirties, everybody looks at you as the young guy. So sometimes you just don't get the opportunity because you are the young guy, but sometimes you do. So like Tristen, he was fortunate enough to get the opportunity to help his neighbors and be able to work full time.


Tristen Miller (11:50):It's kind of hard to pick some good challenges because I feel like there's a lot of little things. Just being looked at as a young guy that's big, but there are so many other factors that go into it.


Ryan Mohr (12:04):Do we want to get into daily challenges or challenges for this year because we have plenty of them.


Phil Young (12:09):Right.


Alek Bowersock (12:09):Wet popcorn.


Phil Young (12:10):There you go.


Ryan Mohr (12:13):That was the last year. Well, I guess it's still this year's problem.


Alek Bowersock (12:15):It's still hauling in, so.


Tristen Miller (12:16):Well, getting started is a pretty... The initiation of getting started. We all farm for families or work for somebody that you can basically call family. I mean you're kind of already established, but a little bit of a different path I guess, or an idea is getting started is pretty hard. To start from scratch is a big challenge.


Alek Bowersock (12:47):It's almost, I don't want to say impossible, because there are many young farmers out there that have started from ground zero. Gavin Spoor for instance, I don't know if you're familiar with him on social media, but he started from ground zero. That is an insane accomplishment because around our area it probably would be very hard to have that happen. I mean you don't see anybody do that around here.


Phil Young (13:11):Just a heavy capital, yeah.


Alek Bowersock (13:13):Because he's farming over 2,000 acres right now. To have that happen around here?


Tristen Miller (13:17):The scale has changed so much. Even way back when my grandpa first started or was farming and stuff like that, it's like you could farm in 80 acres and you were okay or farm a couple of hundred acres and you're okay, but the scale has changed. It's harder to do that. I mean you have off-farm jobs to support an 800-acre farm now or something, you know what I mean? The scale has completely changed and then it makes it harder for younger generations to be able to do that because back in the day you could buy an 80 and you could live off of it, a long time ago. But still and now, I mean the scale has just flopped and that's what even helps make it even harder I think, too, is the scale has become so large that…


Ryan Mohr (14:06):Paying $10,000 an acre plus for ground, you know, it gets-


Alek Bowersock (14:09):You’ve got to have a support group.


Tristen Miller (14:11):I need a new ag lender. I love you, Phil.


Phil Young (14:17):Maybe one that just passes money out.


Tristen Miller (14:20):I love you, Phil.


Phil Young (14:21):More a giver than a lender, I think. If you guys could, and I know this is recent since you guys are fairly new and maybe not Ryan as new, 14 years in, and maybe you'd be the best person to ask this question to, Ryan. I'm a reflective person. So is there a piece of advice or multiple pieces of advice you'd give Ryan or you guys' selves now that you've done it for a while? Is there a piece of advice like, man, I wish I could go back and tell myself when I first got started this piece of advice? Or like, hey, maybe don't do this or maybe do this thing to really, maybe just like, that's a mistake I shouldn't have done.


Ryan Mohr (14:59):So yes and no. I've thought about that a lot. I had the list for a couple of days now, so I knew some of the questions we were going to have and this is one that's been resounding with me and I guess just go with your gut is going to be the main one. Yes, it's a lot of money to get started or yes, to go get the operating loan or to ask it. You might be scared, but in the end just go with your gut and if your gut says, hey, I think I can make this work, it usually works out for the best. So at least that's my feeling anyway. These guys might have a different thought on that.


Alek Bowersock (15:33):What little time we have, Tristen and I have been full-time farmers. What I have taken into a learning aspect is learning from past years as well as learning from my grandpa. I mean, he's bringing stories back from the eighties. He's talking about the eighties and what happened then. Going back to what Tristen said, times have just changed tremendously and the story he's telling about back in the eighties is completely different compared to now. We're on a huge different scale, but you can still correlate some of those things to use in today's agricultural world.


Tristen Miller (16:08):From that, I guess some good advice I would do is just maybe pay attention more, look into things more, because a lot of time history always repeats itself usually. I should have paid attention more maybe when I was younger to learn things for right when I was ready to jump into it. I could have better ideas on stuff. But yeah, I mean I am not really sure since I haven't really been doing it very long.


Ryan Mohr (16:36):Another piece I would add, and it goes back to the whole group thing. Find somebody that gets you or knows you I guess you could say, and work with them whether it's your ag lender or your accountant or whatever it be, and they will... Ask advice from outside the industry, I guess is what I'm trying to get at. Some of the best farmers, I guess I could say I know have boards that are off-farm that they... Might be a car dealership guy they go talk to or something like that. But it is a business and that's what we all have to realize no matter what. The passion's still there to do it, but you still have to realize it's a business.


Phil Young (17:17):Yeah. The thing I hear the most, and I see it too is, and it's kind of a formal way to say this, but I think you nailed it, is to have a board within your operation. It's not a formal thing, it's an informal group of people that you surround yourself with like your accountant, your attorney, and your lender. Maybe it's a mentor that you've established. And when you have a big decision, it's getting that advice and kind of just saying, "Hey, I'm thinking about doing this" and asking all those different people because they all have different perspectives. They're like, "Well, this is going to affect you tax-wise." Or they're like, "Yeah, this is going to..." And so that's a big thing I hear from young borrowers and I try to relay is do that.


(18:00):Out of curiosity, you kind of touched on grandpa and do you guys have maybe whether it's family or someone else, do you have an ag mentor or mentors other than yourselves? I mean you guys are friends, but do you have anyone that you say, hey, this is my mentor?


Ryan Mohr (18:17):I'm with Alek. Mine's my grandfather.


Phil Young (18:19):Grandfather, yeah.


Ryan Mohr (18:19):He started it and that's that. Yeah, he's one that if you always have a question, he'll know the answer or he's going to find it out for you. Either one.


Phil Young (18:30):I guess that, but what makes him a great mentor? Is he just a phenomenal teacher?


Ryan Mohr (18:34):Yeah.


Phil Young (18:34):I mean, he doesn't assume anything. He just really is just phenomenal at teaching you how to do agriculture.


Ryan Mohr (18:40):Yeah, that's what it's come down to. And he's meticulous when it comes to making sure everything gets done right. You were trained by him as a kid, and a lot of that stayed through life.


Alek Bowersock (18:53):I'll say my grandpa as well, I mean he's a second-generation farmer. His dad started it. Him and his brother we're a part of that as well. But more or less learning from him, watching him, I mean, I've been watching him my whole life, just watching some of the things he's done has correlated with me and I can use some of those aspects to help the operation continue to grow.


Phil Young (19:15):Nice.


Tristen Miller (19:16):Mine was always my grandpa, but unfortunately a few years ago I lost him. He passed away, so he's kind of not there anymore. But I kind of really look at a lot of the couple of guys that I've farmed for and worked for are that generation of the grandfather generation, and I think they've been through a lot through their whole process, from when they first started farming all the way through 50 years later where they're at now. And that's probably where my mentors are, are those guys. And I think those guys always make good fits for that because they've been through so much. And like Ryan said, a lot of times if they don't know the answer, they're going to figure it out for... Like, they can have some answers to help figure it out or they've experienced it so they can just help guide you and like, "Well, I've been through this five times, this is what you should do or this is where you should look." And so I kind of would say that's where my mentors would be.


Phil Young (20:18):Okay. I'm kind of switching gears here. When you guys try to consume knowledge, when you guys are trying to stay up on the industry, when you guys are trying to learn new things, where do you guys go to learn that? Are you guys doing podcast listening? Are you reading old school magazines?


Ryan Mohr (20:37):I'm probably the only one that does that.


Phil Young (20:41):Is it Twitter? Is it TikTok? I'm just curious from your guys' perspective, where are you getting your updates and industry news from?


Alek Bowersock (20:49):I first think you need to get out in the world. Once again, my grandpa, he says, "You got to see the faces, you got to see the faces." You have to be able to have hands-on circumstances like we're here today at the Emerge conference. I mean, we've had a couple of great speakers, and learned new things, whether it's agriculture-related or not. You can pick up a couple of things and maybe that can help you in the long run.


Tristen Miller (21:12):Going to these things are pretty good at figuring things out to learn. Sometimes I don't mind turning to social media for some stuff.


Ryan Mohr (21:20):Same.


Tristen Miller (21:22):I do it a lot, but scrolling through comments and seeing what people say about stuff. It's not really giving you information, but it helps you see what people are thinking.


Phil Young (21:36):The pulse of the topic.


Tristen Miller (21:36):Yeah, I mean it's like you get an idea, like Alek burns trash or something and posts a picture of it. Somebody's commenting on there about how terrible that is for the environment or something like that. It doesn't really teach you much or you don't really learn much, but you're kind of seeing people are hating on that for whatever reason.


(21:56):That might've been a bad example, but it's just looking through the comments, seeing what people are saying, whether it's good, bad or indifferent. And then podcasts are a pretty big one. A lot of times when I'm hauling grain and stuff, it's like you flip a podcast on and you get tired of listening to music. Flip a podcast on, and listen to an episode or two of those.


Ryan Mohr (22:18):I'm that old guy now. I don't like the music, so if I'm in the tractor, semi or whatever-


Phil Young (22:22):Exactly, yes, turn it down.


Ryan Mohr (22:24):It used to be the old AM radio, but yeah, now it's the podcast, so just get on your phone and I can sit in a tractor all day long planting beans and I will listen to all of them…


Alek Bowersock (22:33):Engine noise.


Ryan Mohr (22:33):... and then go find more.


Tristen Miller (22:35):And I don't like to read, so if I can just watch it or listen to it would be so much better. I'm not a big reader, so magazines and papers and stuff are not really my thing. That's why I turn to Facebook and stuff. Or TikTok, groups... Like on Facebook, I follow a lot of groups and people are always getting on there from Nebraska or Illinois or whatever, and they're getting on there and commenting or posting about something going on in their town or something. I mean, that's where I usually turn to just because I struggle to sit down and just read a magazine and find it. So videos and stuff or where I turn to listen and be informed about what's happening.


Alek Bowersock (23:18):When you're learning these things, like Tristen says when he's on his Facebook scrolling through his groups from the people in Nebraska, it's something out there you might think you could try here. Sometimes it won't work here. So you just have to be careful of what will work on your operation versus another. And that's all right. Trial by error. There are a lot of things you just got to move forward with.


Phil Young (23:42):Exactly. Are there resources you guys think maybe that could be out there that would help you succeed more? Is there an event or topics? Like today. Is there, "Man, I want to hear about this topic. It's not generally talked about." You guys have gone to a couple of conferences now and you're like, "Man, this just seems like a topic that's not discussed that I'd really like to hear about." Is there anything you guys have?


Ryan Mohr (24:04):I can't say I have anything off the top of my head, but what I would say, is Commodity Classic, that's something I want to look to go to one day. I've had neighbors go. I've heard people going and that's a big takeaway that they always learn something new at Commodity Classic. So that's a goal for me.


Alek Bowersock (24:21):I think that'd be a neat place to go. I've never been there, but it looks like a lot of learning can happen there.


Tristen Miller (24:28):As far as topics go, I always enjoy the economic topics, the grain topics, stuff like that. Finding out what's happening in the economy that can impact us, what's happening in the grain world. I mean, it changes every day what other countries are doing and stuff like that. And those are topics I always enjoy. Yeah, I mean going to these things is pretty critical, I think. I mean, networking with other people and listening to the speakers. I mean, I think you can take a lot away from those things and the more of these kinds of Emerge Experience activities that you can go to and have available, I think helps out a lot too.


Phil Young (25:14):It's one of those things where it's like you don't know what you don't know, so it's like you just got to show up and listen to it and wow, I didn't know that.


Tristen Miller (25:20):That was today. I mean, sitting through some stuff, you're like, I know about this, but then they dig a little deeper and it's like, oh, I knew it, but I didn't know it, if that makes any sense.


Phil Young (25:32):All right. Well, hey, last I wanted to ask you guys, how are you guys feeling about 2024? What's ahead? What do you think about 2024?


Alek Bowersock (25:41):Well, if you look at the crop prices right now, it might scare you just a little bit, but my grandpa, going back bouncing on my grandpa, he told me the other day, he's like, this is one of the years where you just got to hold on. You got to hold on. So you're along for the ride. You just got to take a hit. If you take a hit, keep on moving.


Ryan Mohr (26:00):I'll agree a hundred percent with that. And be ready to do good marketing. Have your plan in place and make sure you have a budget and all that good stuff. Be ready to take the opportunities if they come. Hopefully, they do.


Phil Young (26:14):The name of the game I think is expense control, right? It's really just making sure that you're making necessary purchases and really kind of honing in on like, do I really need this right now? Is this a need, a want? Is this a necessity?


Tristen Miller (26:27):I think that's huge is the needs versus wants, especially going in this year with the way prices are looking and everything. There's probably going to be some stuff correct and different things, adjustments made, and I think a needs and wants priorities is kind of going to be the biggest thing. But as far as 2024 goes, I mean, it just looks to me like we're just going to have a... Prices are going to be probably a little bit of a battle. But like Ryan said, a lot of times you can come up with marketing plans and have ways to help yourself out with that. And I think filling out the projected, basically budgeting stuff, I think that's going to be pretty important in the next few years. Maybe even two, really paying close attention because of all the changes that are going to happen.


Phil Young (27:17):Yep. I think you nailed it. Yeah. Knowing your margins, knowing what your inputs are and really not-


Tristen Miller (27:23):I think a lot of guys, I mean, I could be wrong, but I think a lot of people got lackadaisical about things when everything was good for the past few years. Like that one guy was showing us stuff. And I mean three years, like he said, "There for three years here, it's been pretty good for a lot of people" and I think people got a little lackadaisical and now it's time to buckle down and pay attention to a lot of your budgeting ideas and stuff.


Phil Young (27:54):It's three years where you're like, it's hard not to make money. This is going to be difficult for me to not make a profit this year. And then when this comes ahead, you're like, oh, yeah, like you just said, I really got to pay attention here.


Tristen Miller (28:07):I did the math earlier and about a year ago I was selling and hauling corn for 56% higher than what it is now. And that makes a big impact on going forward and stuff.


Alek Bowersock (28:22):Corn gets to six bucks and you're like, oh, let's get it to 6.50, let's get to seven.


Tristen Miller (28:28):That's everybody. Everybody's always sitting just a little bit more, but…


Ryan Mohr (28:33):Have your plan and be ready. That's all I'll say.


Alek Bowersock (28:35):Just another year.


Tristen Miller (28:36):Yep, exactly.


Phil Young (28:39):And it's one of those things where too, I think this year is a good reminder for younger guys and even seasoned guys that it's like, hey, difficult years are going to come and so enjoy the good years, but also in the good years, you need to prepare for the bad. And so holding back that working capital, not always trying to play the Uncle Sam tax dodge game, but trying to keep some of that cash and not spend it on an asset maybe you don't need to kind of hedge against adversity like we're heading into. But appreciate you guys coming on. Any last thoughts you guys have or things you wanted to share before we wrap up?


Ryan Mohr (29:14):We touched on most of mine. Some of the challenges I guess that we didn't get to are mainly just based off this year, but with the property tax increase we had in Van Wert County, Mercer County had it too, but that was an issue with our farm. Tax bill goes out and landlords start calling. They want their increase and we'll go ahead and pay it.


(29:34):And then Dicamba, that was the other thing I had. We raised Xtend beans and that whole debacle a month ago and we weren't being able to spray it. And now that we can, I don't think it's going to matter. It's just an issue going forward. What we do next year and beyond, if we'll still have the opportunity, if they are going to pull the label and not give it back to us.


Phil Young (30:00):Well, good. Thank you guys for stopping by.


Alek Bowersock (30:02):Yeah, thank you.


Phil Young (30:03):Thank you guys for working with AgCredit. We love hanging out with you and love you guys as borrowers. All right. Enjoy the rest of the conference guys.


Ryan Mohr (30:09):Thanks.


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