Top Producer is devoted entirely to the business of production agriculture and is distributed 10 times a year to more than 123,000 subscribers, providing advertisers needed additional reach and frequency to farming’s most important audience. Qualification to receive Top Producer is limited to commercial farms with 500+ acres of corn or soybeans or 1,000+ acres of other key commodity crops. These readers represent less than 15% of U.S. farms, but control nearly 60% of all U.S. farm acres.
The focus on long-term business success is reflected editorially in articles profiling thought-leading producers and marketing experts, making Top Producer the authoritative business resource for large farm operators. A testament to Top Producer’s affinity with large producers is the Top Producer Seminar, which attracts 650+ of its readers to an intense annual three-day mini-business school in Chicago each January. Like Farm Journal, Top Producer was recognized as the best-read publication in its field in the NAFB’s “2008 National Producer Media-Use Wave Study” and is repeatedly recognized for its editorial excellence, including capturing a runner-up award for the Grand Neal from ABM.
Sara Schafer was named editor of Top Producer in spring 2015. Since joining Farm Journal Media nearly eight years ago, Schafer has covered a broad range of topics pivotal to the success of American farmers. In addition to being an award‐winning content producer, she has played several key roles at AgWeb, Farm Journal and Top Producer, including the first, transformative relaunch of AgWeb that turned the website into the industry’s leading site for news, weather and markets. Schafer also drove the multimedia launch of the innovative Farm Journal Pulse, a national farmer poll established with Commodity Update to use mobile surveys to gather instant market intelligence.
Working across all platforms at Farm Journal Media, Schafer spearheaded the Farm Journal Legacy Project expansion in 2014, established the Legacy Advisor Team and hosted the first Legacy Conference. Her leadership greatly increased the flow of succession planning information to farmers.
At Top Producer, Schafer has served as the architect and host of the Tomorrow’s Top Producer event for the past three years. She has also been responsible for the Tomorrow’s Top Producer Horizon Award, which recognizes excellence for young farmers. Working with former Top Producer editor Jeanne Bernick, she helped produce and host segments of Executive Women in Agriculture and Top Producer Seminar.
A May 2007 graduate of the University of Missouri–Columbia, Schafer majored in agricultural journalism with a minor in agricultural economics. She was previously employed by Boone Electric Cooperative. Schafer grew up on a diversified crop and livestock farm in Jamestown, Mo. Her family raised hogs and cattle, along with corn, soybeans, wheat, milo and hay. She and her husband reside in Columbia, Mo.
Deputy Managing Editor
Nate Birt has served as deputy managing editor of Top Producer since April 2014. In that role, he oversees production of the magazine’s 10 annual issues. He writes regularly for the magazine as well as the brand’s daily Power Hour feature on AgWeb, spotlighting commodity marketing trends, business news and more. He also works closely with the Top Producer Executive Network (TPEN) to coordinate exclusive member webinars with expert speakers.
Birt holds a master’s degree in journalism from the University of Missouri. He previously served as assistant machinery editor and social media editor for Farm Journal and has also worked for AOL’s Patch.com, the Boonville (Mo.) Daily News and the Detroit Free Press. Birt lives with his wife and three sons in Mexico, Mo.
- Regular Features: Print and Online Top of Mind (editor’s letter)
- Columnists: Chris Barron, Jerry Gulke, Paul Neiffer, Greg Peterson and John Phipps
- Manager’s Corner (news you can use, app and book reviews, data visualizations)
- Key Coverage Areas: Business, finance, human resources, technology, weather, issues, policy, profile, and View From The Top (CEO Q&A)
- Market Outlook (commodity marketing news, strategy)
- All print content in HTML format
- Power Hour (original business and markets news paired with video and audio from Farm Journal Media)
- Social media: Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter
- Live events coverage from Top Producer Seminar, Tomorrow’s Top Producer and Executive Women in Agriculture
- Webinar collaboration with other Farm Journal Media brands on timely subjects to benefit producers
- Ebooks on pressing topics