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    3 Market Trends from the 2017 Census and Our Farm Data

    Posted by FMiD Team on Apr 26, 2019

    3 Market Trends from the Census & Our Data

    The 2017 Census of Agriculture results have been out for a few weeks and you’re probably already figuring out what it means for your agribusiness’ long-term strategy.

    While these findings do provide some overall direction and can help you make some strategic decisions, they are aggregate numbers that don't provide specificity into individual growers or groups of growers. This means that if you want to dig deeper and gain some more detailed and actionable results, particularly for marketing and sales purposes, you'll need more than what the Census provides.

    That’s where Farm Market iD can help. We took the 2017 information in our database and used it to provide some additional insights to complement the Census. That way, we can see both overall market trends and also find specific information on segments of growers.

    Here are three market trends that we drew from the Census and augmented with our own farm data and what your agribusiness can do to better target growers.


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    Farm Operation Size

    The Census reported that there was an increase in large (2,000+ acre) and small (1 to 9 acre) farms in 2017. Let's dive in a little deeper, looking at a more segmented view and focusing on growers with planted acres in 2017:

    Share of Growers by Farm Size

    This shows that while there are a lot of large and small operations, the majority of operations with planted acres are in the mid-range of 25-1000 acres. You should consider those growers as a part of your strategy for the coming year and not discount the potential value they could bring to your business.

    Gross Farm Income

    Your ability to market and sell to farmers depends on their ability to spend on your product – which is where knowing the Gross Farm Income comes in. The majority of growers operate farm businesses of less than $25,000, while less than 10 percent – 6.7 percent, to be exact – operate $500,000 or more. Take a look at the breakdown below:

    Number of Growers with Planted Acres by GFI

    This means that the addressable market of farmers who are in a position to do business with you is small and, thus, highly competitive. Having the ability to look at the Gross Farm Income of a grower can help you do three things:

    • See if that grower is a good fit for your products or services and prioritize them accordingly
    • Identify how much market share that grower or group of growers can provide
    • Tell how much wallet share you currently have and what opportunity is available

    It means you can take more time and be more deliberate in tailoring your marketing and sales communications directly to the grower’s needs. This helps you not only grow your immediate revenue, but the overall, long-term relationship your agribusiness has with farmers. 

    Average Acreage

    According to the Census, the average farmer has 441 acres. However, this is looking at overall farmland and not focusing on the acres that were actually planted in 2017. When you look instead at planted acres, the breakdown is different:

    Crop Type Average Acreage
    Corn/Soy 211
    Wheat 155
    Cotton 151
    Planted Acres (All Crops) 242

    Overall, farmers average 200 acres less of planted acres than they do acres overall. It’s important to go after farmers who have actively planted in the past year to be able to offer relevant products or services to them.

    Detailed data on planted versus non-planted acres can help with that.

    Looking ahead to #Plant19

    As we head into the planting season and you start reaching out to new farmers, here are some things to keep in mind:

    • Make sure you’re marketing to the farmers who are actually planting and, thus, can take advantage of your products or services this season
    • Understand that the majority of growers operate small budget farms, so if you’re marketing an expensive product you have a smaller and thus more competitive market, thus you have to be more targeted and specific in your messaging
    • The average acreage that’s actually planted is small compared to the average acreage of land overall, so don’t assume you know the operation – you need to do research to find out what the farmer is planting and thus what they need from you

    The fundamental takeaway is that even having aggregate information like what the Census provides only gets you halfway. Go even deeper with access to field-level data to determine your ideal market and opportunities this year with Farm Market iD. Watch the video below to see how.

    Prevent lost revenue potential - talk to our sales team.