Published May 7, 2012

PFI beginning farmer annual survey results

By Luke Gran

The top five 2012 priorities for beginning farmers at PFI are:

  1. Marketing
  2. Production
  3. Financing
  4. Pricing my products
  5. Financial Recordkeeping

50% have a business plan with annual sales forecast and a budget of expenses and the rest are eager for a little help completing one.

Beginners of all enterprises come together at PFI to learn and share ideas to overcome numerous challenges. The most common enterprises of 2012 beginners are horticulture (33%) followed by integrated crops and livestock (20%), grass-based livestock (15%), and rowcrops (9%).

graph of primary enterprises for beginning farmers

36.7% of survey respondents are Adding An Enterprise by 2016. The top three enterprises beginners are looking to add are:

  1. Grass-based livestock
  2. Horticulture
  3. Rowcrop (grain)

Beginners love to network face to face, meet new neighbors that care about sustainable agriculture. In the survey they told us that PFI Field Days/PFI workshops are the most important, followed by farminars, and the PFI annual conference.

66.7% of our beginners have watched a live Farminar presentation or viewed a recording.

Finally, our beginners are of all ages (including young people) and 38.5% of our network are females. A great thing for the future of agriculture in Iowa.

  • 19-28                      29.8%
  • 29-38                      29.8%
  • 39-48                      16.3%
  • 49-58                      15.4%
  • 59-68                      7.7%

Testimonials from the beginning farmers

Keep on getting wonderful people to elaborate on their successes and failures so we beginning farmers can feel confident, full of knowledge, and ready for all that may come our way.

From my short amount of time getting acquainted with PFI it has been an invaluable tool.

The biggest help PFI has provided is access to a huge network of helpful people who are pursuing similar endeavors.

PFI has helped me more significantly than any other resource in agriculture.

Practical Farmers has been a great support and inspiration for me. I’ve made friends through PFI events and gotten a great perspective on what other farmers are doing and what I am capable of doing in my own operation.

PFI has helped me develop as a farmer, encouraging me to become more involved in my community, engage in productive discussion about agricultural topics, and helped improve our farming methods.

PFI provides an amazing support network for me as a farmer. It serves as an information resource, a support network, an idea center and a home base for my growth as a farmer. I appreciate the collaborative and welcoming nature of the organization and feel very privileged to be a part of it.