There are somewhat surprising results coming from a recent Purdue University survey of the nation’s farmers about the strengths of the most financially successful farmers. Those surveyed rated financial and risk management skills as most important, and their most proficient skills. But Bruce Erickson from Purdue says there were two other skills that most correlated with financial success.

“What we found is the success of today’s farmers, as they rated themselves, was more related to their ability to manage livestock, grow crops, and to manage their personnel, some of what we consider more of the basic skills of managing that farm operation. So we theorize that going into the future those more business type skills will be important, but at least for the success of today’s farmers, it’s the basics that seem to prevail.”

Erickson is Director of Cropping Systems Management at Purdue Ag Econ and runs the annual Top Farmer Crop Workshop. He told Hoosier Ag Today despite the survey suggesting farmers may want to brush up on production management and personnel management skills, the focus of their workshops won’t change.

“As farming operations become more complex we still feel like it’s the risk and relationships, and strategies and financial management, and those kinds of things that will continue to take on increasing importance. And so, the survey results were a bit of a surprise to us, but we feel like we’re going to continue going in the direction we’ve been going the last couple of years.”