The ISA Board understands that profitability is top of mind for many farmers, especially in this economic environment, and they devote checkoff funds to help farmers become better agronomic managers and better business managers.

This specific project was intended to explore the commonalities of farmers who continue to be more profitable than their peers, in both good times and more challenging times.

Using data from Farm Business Farm Management (FBFM), we looked at which on-farm practices lead to healthier bottom lines and what habits these resilient farmers have in common.

Key Resilient-Farmer Habits:

  1. Innovative but not on the bleeding edge of technology
  2. Always evaluating new technologies
  3. Return is an important evaluation criteria
  4. Cost control is paramount
  5. Production is maintained at high levels
  6. The right expertise is brought to the farm
  7. Non-timing price opportunities are sought

Habits of Highly Successful Farmers

Gary Schnitkey, agriculture and consumer economics professor at the University of Illinois, shares recommendations for on-farm practices that led to healthier bottom lines based on ISA-funded research and data from Illinois Farm Business Farm Management.

In both good times and bad there are commonalities among the farmers who tend to be most profitable. Last year a study sponsored by ISA and the Illinois Soybean checkoff program explored the on-farm practices that led to healthier bottom lines. Gary Schnitkey, agriculture and consumer economics professor at the University of Illinois, and his team of researchers found that certain habits of the most successful farmers set them apart.

“The most resilient farmers are able to mitigate risks, make informed, cross-functional decisions and operate with lower overall costs than their peers,” says Schnitkey. Listen now to hear more on these fascinating findings.

Key Takeaways:

  1. Keep overhead costs low. The most successful farmers often have slightly higher yields, and almost always have lower overhead costs than their peers. These advantages enable them to innovate across all facets of their operations.
  2. Seek expert advice. Even the best farmers can’t excel at everything—know your strengths and weaknesses and seek out the expert help you need to be successful.
  3. Maximize your acreage. Increasing soybean acres will help manage costs. Schnitkey’s team deemed the traditional fifty-fifty corn-soy rotation most profitable, particularly while the current global demand outlook favors beans.

Share This Story