Howard<at>           © Copyright 2017  D. H. Doster

Barbara & Howard Doster

Retired Purdue University Management Teachers

Peer Advisory Couple Coaches Since 1975


It’s for high school kids and their parents who crop farm.

In Serious 4-H, you can also learn to be a better farmer.


With about the same resources, some persons realize more of their goals.

We say they are better managers.

To paraphrase the 4-H motto, do you want to “make your best better?


as you do real life on-your-own-farm exercises

using agronomic, engineering, & economic principles, & management processes.

You and your parents are the target audience,

if you are a high school kid and they crop farm.


That’s why you still have each of your resources.

When you think you’ll be better off, you trade resources.


you use the resources you now have,

to get what you now want most.


you identify the problem/opportunity,

determine the cause/reason,

test alternative solutions and their consequences,

pick the best for your new plan,

do the new best plan, and monitor it,

looking for the next surprise.

That’s the problem solving process.

Management is both deciding and doing.

Management can be defined as the problem solving process of deciding what to do,

& doing it, as you use what you now have to get what you now want most.

Use the process, knowingly, from now on, to manage yourself; including when you decide to take this project now; pick 4-H crop land site now; decide tillage system now; select seed, fertilizer, etc. recipes now; scout crops; spray now, decide whether to price your crop now, trade machinery now, rent more land now, start farming part-time or full-time now, or exit farming now; whatever.


Note the emphasis on “now”.  When you trade for a new combine, you expect to retain it for several years.  But, you are committed to keep it for only a “moment”, the time it takes you to trade.  Thus, when a surprise, such as more land becomes available to rent, you may test whether to get a bigger combine “now”, if you rent the land.

Because past production performance is the best indicator of future production performance,

you’ll study your own site-specific yields and others’ past test plot yields.

Because price changes may affect best rotations or crop recipes, etc.,

use expected revenues and costs, not past revenues and costs, as you decide what to do now.


Suppose you see the benefit of somehow participating in Extension education programs.

Suppose you are or would consider being a 4-H member and/or a 4-H club parent/leader/teacher.

Suppose you would dare to share the learning/doing/teaching process with another family.


-A crop farming couple you respect professionally, like personally, and don’t compete with for land.

Agree to share business organizations, balance sheets & budgets, perhaps created in our new software, meet on each other’s farm multiple times as you monitor each other’s physical & financial performances, plus the 4-H’ers performances, for at least two years, and,

Host the other’s HS kid for up to three weeks in June to learn/do/teach crop scouting & crop related management assignments, and again the next August to plan a “First Draft” for “How to bring in the next generation; effectively-do right things; efficiently-do things right; enjoyably-have fun farming together, and/or being an owner of some of the land your sibling operates.”

Then, find four other families who share your goal. Become a Serious 4-H Farm Management Club of 20+ persons, a right size club.  For the 1st year, maybe kids can enter the “self-determined” 4-H project.  

Now, find the right Extension person to help you get appropriate subject matter and perhaps to teach some of it.  Teach some of it yourselves, perhaps using Extension provided materials.

Also offer to help Extension to create appropriate recognition for 4-H management club members.  

Over 100 years ago, A.B. Graham, a western Ohio teacher, started a corn club for his HS students.  The teacher, the parents, and the students all learned about corn, and about learning/doing/teaching, in that first 4-H club.   Here’s your opportunity to LEARN/DO/TEACH in the first 4-H Farm Management Club.     What fun!


Howard Doster is a former Ohio State 4-H Achievement winner, county 4-H Summer Intern, Ohio State Extension Farm Management Specialist, and Purdue Farm Management professor emeritus; as well as an Accredited Farm Manager and Accredited Agricultural Consultant; and a former tenant and now farm owner.  While batting 606 in 120 softball games in 2014, he helped his 80-year team place 4th in the World Championships. His mother, a son, and a grandson were also State 4-H Achievement winners.  He and his wife, Barbara, a retired Purdue Management School administrator/teacher, both of whom have won multiple distinguished service awards, are now volunteering to help create this serious 4-H farm management program.

In the Purdue Top Farmer Crop Workshop he co-founded, and led for 30 years,

Howard has helped 7,000 mostly corn-belt crop farmers interpret their opportunity costs in 25,000 linear program computer crop budgets as they’ve tested alternative crop rotations, machinery sizes, tillage systems, and/or farm sizes.

For 30 years, he helped Purdue farm management seniors create their Business Plans in his                                   “How to go home and start farming with Dad class.”

He created the term, “Site-Specific Farming”, in 1983.                                                                                                    Now, Howard and Barbara want to do what we can to help revitalize Land Grants.                                                         We want to help you and your kids become better site-specific farmers.

Barbara still gives the opening motivation speech each year to the Top 100 Purdue Management School students at the weekend Doster Leadership Forum in Indy, where she also presents the Barbara G. Doster Positive Attitude Scholarships.

We’ve previously created & carried out a three year 4-H Entrepreneurship Club;                                           Howard co-authored The Creative Young Entrepreneur, a HS FFA text;

and, for 17 years, we each owned 12 ½% of Dan-D Acres, Inc.,

our four kids 4-H 5-acre u-pick strawberry business.

We want to teach some of the materials a few times

before turning the program over to others,

perhaps including you.

Please join us as together, we revise any of Serious 4-H, to make our best better.

Barbara and Howard Doster;; 765-412-1495