Good soil is perhaps the most essential element of agriculture, as it determines not only what can be cultivated, but also whether yields will be high or low. At a recent Iowa Agricultural Office economic summit, the senior vice president of the largest agricultural lender in the upper Midwest detailed 13 habits of his most successful clients. Knuth recognized the importance of sound production practices, but noted that large production is already expected from the region. Ask them what you can do to increase the value for them.
Differentiate the level of service you provide to them. Can you offer specific quality, provide storage and be able to deliver just in time when they need it? Can you offer your customers a higher-value product? Part of understanding your business involves understanding the elements that you believe lead to your success. The study also suggests that experiences can provide strategies for successful small farm operations. Achieving the latter requires the identification and analysis of factors that contribute to success.
The successful farmers that Farm Credit serves have positive working capital and are focused on remaining so. A factor equal to the importance of good soil health for the successful implementation of the concept of organic production is the selection of crops and varieties. Mike Boehlje, an agricultural economist at Purdue University in Pleasant, Michigan, spoke to a crowd of more than 700 farmers and agribusiness representatives about 10 key strategies for long-term success. Less successful farmers used farmers' markets more often, while highly successful farmers used other types of direct marketing more frequently than less successful farmers.
The factors identified in this study that contribute to success will help less-successful small farmers in Tennessee modify their production and management practices to be more successful. At the state level, a study conducted by McLean-Meyinsse and Brown (199) showed that the factors that contribute to success are good management practices, knowledge and early adoption of new technologies, a strong work ethic, a love for agriculture, the size of the operation, participation in government programs, and strong family support. Staff opinions or beliefs are fine, but establishing a business based on consumer preferences and demands makes the company more successful. Respondents were also asked to rate several factors that affect their level of success using the Likert scale from 1 to 5.Betty Jones-Bliss, associate director of the Food and Agricultural Business Center at Purdue University, recently asked Scott Downey and Justin Funk some questions about the important elements of a successful marketing strategy.
The graph above indicates the proportion of farmers who ranked each of the factors first, second, third, etc. Farmers were asked to rank on a continuum to show the degree of success of their agricultural operations. The authors found a negative relationship between success and the farmer's age and a positive relationship with education, performance, the efficiency of machinery and labor, the rent of acres and the contribution to total revenues from livestock production. In another study conducted by Nanhou and Duffy (200), success was measured in terms of financial gains (profitability).