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Conference Name Producer Attitudes, Assistance, and Time Allocation Affecting Farm Income

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 to all professionals working in the agricultural sector. Farm business data from the Southwest Minnesota Farm Business Management Association (SWMFBMA) show the net farm income for the top producers growing at a faster rate than for all producers. The objective of this study is to identify what the top income group was doing differently compared to the rest of the producers. As part of a larger study, the members of SWMFBMA were surveyed to determine information relating to level of education, how the producer got started in the business, additional farm management education, and attitudes towards an assortment of farm business and risk management issues. This data was compared to five-year averages for financial and physical data. The farms were divided into two groups based on whether the net farm income per operator was less than or greater than $100,000. Initial results show that farms in the lower income group indicated they received more inheritance than the top income group although the top group were more likely to have purchased their farm from relatives. The top income group also indicated they spent more time reading farm management educational material than the low income group. Other variables such as the amount of time spent on marketing and on projecting income and expenses were not significantly differently between the two groups. Other results are presented in the full paper.