Bushel’s 2023 State of the Farm Report is based on a comprehensive survey of more than 1,350 U.S. farmers. The survey asked questions about technology, grain marketing, industry payment practices, sustainability opportunities, and future priorities and concerns.
“At Bushel, we are committed to staying in touch with industry trends and the people who use our software,” said Julie Christensen, product marketer for Bushel Farm, the next generation of farm management software. “Our State of the Farm report helps us do just that, and on top of it, we can share what we learn with our customers and the broader industry for greater impact.”
Key findings of the report
The State of the Farm Report began as an annual farmer survey in 2017 by FarmLogs (now Bushel Farm).
The report responses predominantly represent larger farms with 50 percent of the respondents farming more than 500 acres. This contrasts with the USDA’s 2017 Census of Agriculture reporting only 15 percent of U.S. farms of this size.
A significant 86 percent of respondents identified themselves as the farm’s primary financial decision-maker.
Confidence in grain marketing
The report reveals that only 4 percent of respondents expressed high satisfaction with their grain marketing results, while 42 percent were neutral.
When a farmer knows and uses their cost of production data when pricing their crop, their satisfaction with their grain marketing results increases. Seventy-four percent of the respondents who reported being satisfied with their marketing results said they use the cost of production data to set the initial price for their crop. Among those farmers who said they were dissatisfied with their marketing, only 50 percent were using their cost of production data to guide their marketing efforts.
Experimenting with technology
The report indicates 44 percent of respondents are willing to experiment with new agricultural technologies. Another 21.8 percent are willing to try new technologies after seeing successful implementation by others. Respondents in the 18-40 age range are the most likely to experiment with new technologies.
Thirdy-one percent of all respondents said they are likely to use an app or website to submit firm offers or sell grain, while another 31 percent remained unsure. In comparison, in 2022, 75 percent of respondents said they did not want to sell their crops through an app.
New Ways of thinking about transactions
The survey reveals that, despite 82 percent of grain payments currently being made through paper checks, nearly 40 percent of farmers have already embraced digital payment methods and are familiar with this technology.
Although paper checks remain the primary form of payment for grain and inputs among farmers, shifting consumer preferences are expected to impact the agriculture sector significantly. A separate 2022 American Finance Professionals Digital Payments Survey indicated that B2B check payments have declined by nearly 50 percent from 2004 to 2023.
Asked about sustainability programs, 84 percent of respondents expressed an interest in obtaining information about participating. However, only 10 percent are currently participating in carbon or sustainability programs.
The primary reason cited for not participating in such programs was a lack of sufficient information, with 60 percent of respondents stating that they need more information to engage in sustainability or carbon programs.
Online research emerged as the primary resource for farmers seeking information on sustainability programs, followed by insights from peers, agronomists, and ag input dealers.
Priorities for the future
The report highlights that farmers are focused on their business operations for the next year with three top priorities:
- Increasing profitability
- Tracking/improving individual field performance
- Improving marketing strategies
Bushel is an independently-owned software technology company that develops digital tools for the agricultural supply chain.