chronicles rise of farm management profession
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From a meeting that attracted 27
farm managers to the University of Illinois in 1929, the output of
that event -- the American Society of Farm Managers and Rural
Appraisers -- has grown to 2,300 members throughout the United
States and Canada. The story of that growth and the society's
service to rural America is recounted in a new book by Harold
Guither, professor emeritus of agricultural economics at the U of I.
"Land Management and Valuation,
1929-2004" recounts the "evolution of professional farm management
and rural appraising influenced by the stress and strains of 20th
century agriculture," said Guither, who has been active for many
years with the society.
"The human capital represented by a
professional farm manager or rural appraiser in 2004 far exceeds the
amount of formal education and experience of the first American
Society members in the 1930s," said Guither. "At the same time, the
clients, farm operators and farm owners, in most cases, also have
achieved more formal education and experience."
However, Guither noted, those who
founded the group in 1929 played an important and farsighted role.
"Even as signs of the Great Depression
began to appear, the society worked to establish itself on a sound
professional basis," he said. "One of the founders' first acts was
to create a code of ethics for the profession. They wanted to
improve the productivity of the farms they managed, not just collect
the rent for the farm owner."
Those early steps built a firm
foundation that has allowed the organization to evolve and adapt to
changing circumstances and needs in the agricultural economy.
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"Today, professional farm managers face
situations where big operators are gaining control over thousands of
acres, managing these properties and competing with the traditional
farm manager for business," he said. "At the same time, many acres
of farmland each year pass from one generation to another. The new
generation that comes into landownership through inheritance will be
more urban than was true in the past. The need will continue for
competent professional farm managers to manage land and counsel the
new generation of urban landowners."
Guither's book reviews the evolution of
the society and the changes in the agricultural economy from 1929 up
to 2004. Appendixes include membership rolls, officers, and the
first code of ethics and recipients of awards.
The book is available at a
pre-publication price of $15, including postage and handling, on
orders received by Aug. 10.
a book, send a check or credit card number to the American Society
of Farm Managers and Rural Appraisers, Suite 508, 950 S. Cherry St.,
Denver, CO 80246-2664, or order online
http://www.asfmra.org/75yearhistory.htm. Books will be shipped
of Illinois news release]