The following information is provided by Nationwide®, the No. 1 farm and ranch insurer in the U.S.*

It’s a trend in American agriculture: the big are getting bigger. Recent U.S. Department of Agriculture data show farms with at least $1 million in annual revenue account for 4% of the nation’s farms, but 66% of the commodities produced in the nation.

As farm workforces and asset bases grow and change, farmers today are increasingly adapting farm management strategies to integrate things like human relations and employee management.

Changing farm management priorities

As farms and acres grow, so do workforces. That causes changes in farm management priorities, added Nationwide Agribusiness Senior Underwriting Director Doug Becker.

Nationwide“Large farmers are investing in bigger facilities and truck fleets. You may need to start adding HR resources so you can manage new tasks like vetting truck drivers so you know your fleet is well-maintained and safe,” Becker said. “That’s not an easy transition for farmers who are wired to put ROI first. It’s hard to put a price on adding people and resources to make sure you’re not becoming more exposed to risk.”

Consider these factors for larger farms

Mitigating that risk on large farms happens in different ways. Managing a large farm today accounts for risk mitigation in several ways. Consider devoting resources to these priorities as your farm grows:

  • Workforce training and education. Just like training drivers to meet certain safety standards when growing your truck fleet, for example, add educational programs to ensure every worker knows the hazards of each job on the farm and is prepared to mitigate those hazards.
  • Health care and compensation. Provide good benefits and competitive pay to not only retain workers but make your farm an attractive workplace for qualified candidates as you grow.
  • Specific liability coverage. As you grow, your farm faces new hazards. Account for managing larger grain storage facilities and machinery fleets, for example, in your risk management plan to ensure you’re covered and not exposed to increased liability.

ROI isn’t always immediate

While ROI is a major factor in many changes as your farm grows, it’s often difficult to measure for things like workforce training and education. That doesn’t mean they’re without value. “Since these aren’t really tangible, they’re not necessarily going to show a direct ROI,” Becker said. “It’s important to see the value of these things when you’re growing your operation.”

For these types of specific farm management components, Owens recommends thinking in the context of both ROI and general competitiveness.

“There has to be a return on the investment,” he said. “Investing in these types of things will help make you more competitive, which will provide ROI in the long run.”

*A.M. Best Market Share Report 2019. Nationwide, the Nationwide N and Eagle, and Nationwide is on your side are service marks of Nationwide Mutual Insurance Company. © 2021 Nationwide.
Labor has always been an issue, mainly because we are a seasonal operation. So that's a challenge finding somebody who only wants to work three months out of a year, sometimes up to six months.
Mandy Way's avatar
Mandy Way

Way Farms

Farm Labor Resources
I appreciate the benefit of having a strong voice in my corner. The extras that are included in membership are wonderful, but I'm a member because of the positive impact to my local and state agricultural communities.
Ernie Welch's avatar
Ernie Welch

Van Wert County Farm Bureau

Strong communities
I see the value and need to be engaged in the community I live in, to be a part of the decision-making process and to volunteer with organizations that help make our community better.
Matt Aultman's avatar
Matt Aultman

Darke County Farm Bureau

Leadership development
Farm Bureau involvement has taught me how to grow my professional and leadership experience outside of the workforce and how to do that in a community-centric way.
Jaclyn De Candio's avatar
Jaclyn De Candio

Clark County Farm Bureau

Young Ag Professionals program
With not growing up on a farm, I’d say I was a late bloomer to agriculture. I feel so fortunate that I found the agriculture industry. There are so many opportunities for growth.
Jenna Gregorich's avatar
Jenna Gregorich

Coshocton County Farm Bureau

Growing our Generation
Knowing that horticulture is under the agriculture umbrella and having Farm Bureau supporting horticulture like it does the rest of ag is very important.
Jared Hughes's avatar
Jared Hughes

Groovy Plants Ranch

Groovy Plants Ranch
If it wasn't for Farm Bureau, I personally, along with many others, would not have had the opportunity to meet with our representatives face to face in Washington.
Austin Heil's avatar
Austin Heil

Hardin County Farm Bureau

Washington, D.C. Leadership Experience
So many of the issues that OFBF and its members are advocating for are important to all Ohioans. I look at OFBF as an agricultural watchdog advocating for farmers and rural communities across Ohio.
Mary Smallsreed's avatar
Mary Smallsreed

Trumbull County Farm Bureau

Suggested Tags: