Agriculture News

November 29, 2016

Purdue, ARA program aimed at sharpening management skills

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. – Purdue University's Center for Food and Agricultural Business will again partner with the Agricultural Retailers Association to present the ARA Management Academy in early 2017.

This workshop-style program, which is Jan. 31 to Feb. 2 in West Lafayette, will dive into management, leadership and decision-making through faculty-led presentations, interactive exercises and small-group discussion. It is designed to further develop management skills for those in agronomic organizations.

Purdue faculty experts Alan Gray, director of the Center for Food and Agricultural Business; Scott Downey, associate director of the center; and Michael Gunderson, associate director of research for the center, will facilitate the program. Joining them will be Rodney Vandeveer, professor in Purdue's Polytechnic Institute.

"Having worked with the ARA Management Academy over the last 15 years, I can safely say that it packs about as much fun and knowledge into three days as possible," said Downey, who also is an associate professor of agricultural economics. "From strategy to sales and finance to leadership, the management academy hits on some of the unique challenges faced by agricultural retailers and offers participants the tools to manage those challenges."

Program topics include thinking strategically, marketplace trends and competitive positioning, financial management: examining profitability, creating sales and marketing value and implementing organizational leadership strategies.

Participants will examine how a strategic mindset is important in daily operations, lay the groundwork to discuss business implications, evaluate financial statements for company performance, create value and differentiate organizations from competition and grow leadership skills to thrive in environments with constant change.

This program is especially valuable for salespeople, agronomists and middle managers who expect to have more management responsibilities in the future.

The program early-bird rate for ARA members is $2,195 through Dec. 23. After that, the program is $2,395 for members and $2,695 for non- members. Learn more about the academy and register at

Writer: Rebecca Frazier,

Contact: Jennifer Stewart-Burton, 765-496-6032,

Sources: Scott Downey, 765-494-4325,

Betty Jones-Bliss, associate director of the Center for Food and Agricultural Business, 217-549-2883,


Agricultural Communications: (765) 494-8415;
Darrin Pack, 
Agriculture News Page

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