American Society of Agricultural Consultants News

It's All About Value

Ethan Robertson, ASAC 2021 President and from Farm Credit East, Vermont2021 ASAC Vision: Continue to build value, and promote the existing value of ASAC membership.

Focus items to add value to ASAC in 2021
  • Expand the reach of our strategic alliances
  • “Roundtable” discussions using technology for networking and insight throughout the year
  • Increase membership
  • A fantastic in-person conference in Nashville TN!
As the new president of the American Society of Agriculture Consultants (ASAC) I wanted to share my vision for 2021.  I hope this can be a simple set of ideas that our officers, committee chairs and members at large can refer to as we conduct the business of our organization this year.

Sometimes, when a new leader steps to the podium and tries to give a motivational message, it comes across as “I’ll fix what has been wrong, follow me!”  That is not the case with ASAC.  I firmly believe we have been headed in the right direction all along.  To me, that direction is creating value for our members.  This has changed some over the years, but now more than ever, ASAC needs to be certain of our value proposition to our members.  Let’s continue to ask ourselves a few questions:
  1. How will this improvement increase the value to our members?
  2. How much time and how many volunteers will this project require?
  3. What do we currently do that should be shored-up to make sure it continues?
  4. Are our members getting this value already from another group that does it better?
Our largest committee is the marketing committee, led by Paige Gilligan.  Look for great things from this committee in the coming year.  ASAC needs to invest in marketing and making sure ASAC and CAC are recognized acronyms in the agricultural community.  The marketing committee can reinforce the hard work and conversations from the Strategic Alliances Committee, led by Norm Brown.  Norm’s committee has been reaching out to groups of people, companies and “movers and shakers” in general to explain the value of CAC designation and ASAC membership when those folks are selecting consultants for their businesses and clients.  Our members and Certified Ag Consultants are professionals dedicated to making ag businesses better,  are dedicated to continued education, and they follow a code of ethics to help their clients accomplish their goals.

I have challenged our Continuing Education Committee, led by Russell Morgan, and our Peer Programs Committee, led by Keith Dickinson, to develop Round Table Discussions using technology like Zoom.  This idea was suggested by a close friend of mine when I quizzed him about what he needed from a group like ASAC.  What he described was what many of us love about our annual conference -- networking, camaraderie, fellowship (call it what you will) blended with valuable updates from ACROSS THE COUNTRY, from like-minded professionals.  It may be hard to break bread and enjoy a nice meal on Zoom, but an hour session with a topic of discussion, with members and perhaps invited guests, could be refreshing, enjoyable and informational with no more commitment than a little time for organization and an agenda.  I’ll leave the details up to the committees, but look for the first roundtable in February or March.

As for membership, I would like to issue a challenge:  we all have friends/colleagues/acquaintances that would benefit from being an ASAC member.  Give them a call and ask what ASAC could provide that would REALLY make it worth belonging.  I think one of these items is continuing education.  Our members may or may not NEED continuing education credits for their company or their designation -- but they should WANT them.  Being an ASAC member and achieving the CAC designation should be just the nudge many need to brush up on some skills or learn a little more about a different area of agriculture.  I also think that consultants as small business owners may get caught up in the day to day work of their clients and their own business and forget to keep current.  ASAC can provide these things!  As we talk to folks in our circles we will hear lots of things ASAC just can’t provide, but if we can pull out a few things that we CAN work on, we can continue to carve out our niche and add  value to our organization.

Lastly, I plan on attending our meeting in Nashville in November 2021.  I know Kyle Walker, our incoming president (2022) and head of the Conference Planning Committee, will put together a great conference.  Make sure to email Kyle or drop him a line with ideas of nearby speakers or outstanding presenters his committee should consider.  I hope our work throughout the year will make this an event that culminates our vision and becomes an event you’ll make sure not to miss! 


Ethan Robertson, President
American Society of Agricultural Consultants (ASAC)


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American Society of Agricultural Consultants (ASAC)
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