Chris Adams, a partner in Adams Family Farm in Grand Forks, has been honored as a finalist for the Farm Journal's 2019 Top Producer of the Year award.

The award, sponsored by chemical company BASF, Rabo AgriFinance and Case IH represents the best in the business of farming, according to a Farm Journal news release.

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Adams was among three finalists chosen from numerous applications by a panel of judges who base their selection on entrepreneurial originality, financial and business progress and industry and community leadership.

Adams received the honor Jan. 16 during the 2019 Top Producer Summit in Chicago. The summit drew more than 1,000 participants for a week of networking and education for executive farmers. Attendees came from 33 states, Canada and Australia.

"It's quite an honor," Adams said. "It solidifies, kind of, what we're doing. It's nice to be recognized for doing something a little bit different, and coming in and building on an operation that's already successful."

As a 2019 Top Producer of the Year finalist, Adams received a trip to Chicago for the 2019 Top Producer Seminar. He also will receive in-person and phone consultations with a CEO coach, courtesy of BASF.

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Adams is the second executive farmer from this area to receive the honor, he said. Gregg Halverson, of Black Gold Farms in Grand Forks, was named Top Producer of the Year in 2012.

The Adams Family Farm exports its products to Peru, Colombia, Spain, Italy and the Philippines, Adams said, noting that the business is seeking market connections with other countries, too.

The majority of the Adams' crops that go to these countries is a special variety of dry beans, called cranberry beans, and are used mostly for consumption, he said.

"In the Mediterranean region, people like the look of them-they use them to upscale their buffets. In South America, they like (the beans) purely for the taste. They're a little bit sweeter."

Adams represents the fourth generation of a farming operation that employs seven full-time and 65 part-time team members. The farm is a partnership between Adams; his wife, Kelsey; and his parents, Steve and Darla Adams.

Since joining the operation in 2010, Adams has launched initiatives such as implementing a new software system, creating employee job descriptions and semi-annual performance reviews, and using drones, aerial mapping and fertilizer prescriptions to improve crop production and soil quality.

The Adams Family Farm is a 9,000-acre operation that produces wheat, hemp, soybeans and several varieties of edible beans. In the past decade, the farm has produced, on average, 30 percent to 50 percent of this country's cranberry beans, according to the Farm Journal news release.

Adams saw a competitive advantage in the cranberry beans product segment. He began to research it and joined trade missions, finding buyers around the world and creating a vertically integrated operation.