7 Characteristics of Successful Farm Owners

Ryegrass Cover Crop
( Nufarm )

Farmers across the country strive for success. While they are all unique, Steve Nicholson of RaboAgrifinance told young producers attending the 2019 Tomorrow’s Top Producer conference that there are seven characteristics that most successful operators have in common. 

1.    Incessantly curious.
The most successful farmers are not afraid to ask questions, he said. They are curious about a lot of things. 

2.    Networker.
The best operators are always learning. They seek to learn from others and they are not afraid to start a conversation or ask questions, he said. 

3.    A manager.
When producers go from thinking of themselves as a farmer to thinking of themselves as a CEO, they find success, Nicholson said. “They are not necessarily doers in the traditional sense,” he said. “Instead they spend time managing people, finances, relationships and developing strategy.”

4.   Think strategically.
The most successful operators think beyond this year and even beyond the next year, he said. What are your organization’s long-term goals and objectives?

5.    Financially savvy.
Successful producers must know how to analyze their investments. They invest in productive assets and eliminate non-productive assets, Nicholson said. They know their costs and spend time analyzing their finances, he added. 

6.    Good at marketing and sales.
Not only are the best farm operators good at traditional commodity marketing, but they are able to sell the advantages of doing business with their farm business, Nicholson explained. 

7.    Not afraid of making change.
In Nicholson’s experience, the most successful operators are not only unafraid of making change, they are not afraid of change at all. They tend to be early adopters of new technologies and practices, and are always looking for a way to improve results. 

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