Study reveals how farmers adapted in era of tremendous volatility

Interest rates, inflation and geopolitical uncertainty have accelerated U.S. ag transformation.

September 12, 2023

2 Min Read
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A nationwide study by Aimpoint Research, a global, strategic intelligence firm, has revealed how farmers and ranchers have adapted to tremendous volatility and a post-pandemic world with heightened geopolitical and economic uncertainties. The syndicated report, “Farmer of the Future 2.0,” builds on the foundational Farmer of the Future psychographic segmentation and future projections released in 2018 and provides a window into U.S. farmers’ current mindsets and attitudes on a wide range of topics.

“Since the original study was released, the world has experienced major disruption that has impacted all sectors of human activity,” said Brett Sciotto, Aimpoint Research CEO. “The ripple effects are still being felt. Interest rates and inflation continue to fuel economic concerns. Geopolitical uncertainty is creating new trade flows and technology is rapidly evolving. These and other forces have accelerated the transformation of U.S. agriculture.”

One of the most telling insights from the report is how fast this change has occurred. In 2018, Aimpoint Research analysts projected that two of the five original segments of farmers (Enterprising Business Builders and Independent Elites) would grow to represent 71% of U.S. farmers by 2040. Farmer of the Future 2.0 revealed these two segments represent 62% of U.S. farmers in only five years.

“The entrepreneurial and innovative farmers are prevailing as projected, but at a much faster rate,” added Sciotto. “As an industry, we need to understand how this has changed the landscape so we can continue to meet farmers and ranchers where they are and serve their needs.”

Other notable results of the research include:

  • A decrease in farmers and ranchers interested in acquiring another operation, from 24% in 2018 to 8% in 2023.

  • Nearly one-third (31%) of farmers and ranchers believe that automation will replace the need for human manual labor.

  • 53% of farmers and ranchers believe they will be able to adopt new sustainability practices on pace with their peers.

  • An increase in farmers and ranchers who have multi-year business plans, from 24% to 58%.

  • Farmers and ranchers overwhelmingly believe that farming is foundational to national security.

In addition to hundreds of data points and analysis of both the current and future operating environments, Farmer of the Future 2.0 includes a new turnkey segmentation that augments the original and provides updated psychographics, demographics, and behavioral data. It can serve as a foundational document for organizations to optimally engage and serve all farmers and ranchers.

As the industry continues to evolve, Aimpoint Research expects data and traceability, precision technology, environmental pressure, biotechnology, and food as health will be the primary drivers of the future.

“A clear view of the current and future states and a deep understanding of who farmers really are is a powerful tool for business leaders, marketers, and strategists,” said Sciotto. “Farmers and ranchers are the backbone of the agri-food system. By avoiding assumptions-based strategy and relying on accurate and timely research, agri-food organizations can better serve them and the critical mission of protecting American Food Power.”

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