Top Producer Summit

Farm Journal’s Top Producer Honors Five Leading Farm Operations

Lenexa, Kan. (January 26, 2023)Silent Shade Planting Company is the 2023 winner of Farm Journal’s annual Top Producer of the Year award. The operation, led by Jeremy and Elizabeth Jack, Stacie Kroger and Willard and Laura Lee Jack, is based in Belzoni, Miss., and includes 11,500 acres of soybeans, corn, cotton and rice, as well as a trucking company. The team also includes 10 full-time and 10 seasonal employees.

The award was presented during Farm Journal’s Top Producer Summit, Jan. 23-25 in Nashville, Tenn. Winners of the Tomorrow’s Top Producer Horizon award and Executive Women in Agriculture Trailblazer award were also recognized at the event.

“What began as a husband-and-wife operation, Silent Shade Planting Company is now a diverse and innovative family business employing five family members and a large team,” says Sara Schafer, editor of Top Producer magazine. “They are a professional business with a goal to be in a constant cycle of improvement never stagnant.”

Silent Shade Planting Company is the 23rd farming operation to be recognized as Top Producer of the Year. Farm Journal has honored producers from both the United States and Canada with the award each year since it was established in 2000.

Also honored as finalists for the Top Producer of the Year award were MoDak Dairy and the Moes family of Goodwind, S.D., and Engel Farms and the Engel family of Hanover, Va.

Sponsored by BASF, Case IH and Rabo AgriFinance, the Top Producer of the Year award is in its 23rd year and represents the best in the business of farming. Three finalists are chosen from numerous applications by a panel of judges based on entrepreneurial originality, financial and business progress and industry and community leadership.

Tomorrow’s Top Producer Horizon Award

The 2023 Tomorrow’s Top Producer Horizon award winner is Trey Wasserburger from North Platte, Neb. He owns TD Angus at Rishel Ranch, which includes 1,200 purebred Angus cows and sells 400 Angus bulls per year. The award, sponsored by Pioneer, recognizes a producer under the age of 35 who demonstrates excellence in farming.

Executive Women in Agriculture Trailblazer Award

The 2022 EWA Trailblazer award winner is Marcia Ruff of Ruff Farms in Circleville, Ohio. Sponsored by Trust In Food, the award honors female producers who are shining examples for their peers in agriculture. Ruff and her husband, Mark, grow around 3,900 acres of corn, soybeans and wheat. The operation, which includes 10 full-time and part-time employees, also includes custom operations and a corn ear business. Beyond her farm career, Ruff is also a public school teacher.

In conjunction with Top Producer Summit, Trust In Food, a Farm Journal initiative, hosted its annual Trust In Food Symposium. Combined, the two events attracted more than 700 attendees from the United States, Canada and Brazil, with more than 40 educational sessions.

Top Producer Summit is supported by platinum sponsors Ag Resource Management, BASF, Case IH, LandTrust and Rabo Agrifinance.

Bronze sponsors for the event include AGCO/FENDT, Channel, Corteva Agriscience, Farmers Mutual Hail, IOM Grain, National Corn Growers Association, Nutrien and Pivot Bio.

The 2024 Top Producer Summit is set for February 5-7 at the Loews Hotel in Kansas City, Mo. For more information go to

About Farm Journal

Farm Journal is the nation’s leading business information and media company serving the agricultural market. Started 146 years ago with the preeminent Farm Journal magazine, the company serves the row crop, livestock, produce and retail sectors through branded websites, eNewsletters and phone apps; business magazines; live events including conferences, seminars and tradeshows; nationally broadcasted television and radio programs; a robust mobile-text-marketing business; and an array of data-driven, paid information products. Farm Journal also is the majority shareholder of the online equipment marketplace, Machinery Pete LLC. Trust In Food is a Farm Journal initiative dedicated to accelerating the adoption of climate-smart and regenerative agriculture in ways that work for producers and enhance connection to consumers. In 2010, the company established the non-profit, public charity, Farm Journal Foundation, dedicated to sustaining agriculture’s ability to meet the vital needs of a growing population through education and empowerment.

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