; 2017 Top Farmer Survey and Research Study | Conferences | AgRisk Library


Conference Name 2017 Top Farmer Survey and Research Study

C. Rob Holcomb


Why some farmers are more profitable than others is a perennial question. The answer is of interest not only to farmers, but all professionals working in the agricultural sector. Farm business data contributed to the FINBIN database from the Minnesota State Farm Business Management Program and the Southwest Minnesota Farm Business Management Association shows significant differences in median net farm income for producers in the top 20th percentile versus all other producers in the database. The objective of this study is to identify characteristics and tendencies of highly successful farmers. As part of this study, the students from the Minnesota State Farm Business Management Program and members of the Southwest Farm Business Management Association were asked to respond to an online survey. The survey addressed a wide variety of topics, but focused on the five areas of agricultural risk management; production, market, financial, legal and human resource risk. In addition to the risk management components, participants were asked about what types of technology they utilize in their farming operations. As part of the data analysis, survey responses were matched up with the producer’s individual FINPACK data. Rather than using net farm income as a criteria for success, a weighted composite index was created in order to determine a benchmark for financial success. This composite index was then compared to the survey data to determine statistical significance for the producer characteristics and tendencies surfaced from the survey data. Results of the study are presented in the full paper.