Date of Award

Summer 2014

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Agricultural Economics

First Advisor

Michael A. Gunderson

Committee Member 1

Nicole J. Olynk Widmar

Committee Member 2

Michael S. Delgado


The trend of consolidation of large farms into high volume operations has continued over the past 30 years. Large farm management is a juggling act of a variety of biological processes, financial management, technology adaptation, and human resource development activities. This research looks to provide insights into the underlying management psychology of those large farmers to serve not only as a benchmark for other producers, but to provide customer information to agribusinesses so these firms can strengthen their relationships with their large farmer customers. The first part of this analysis will use Best-Worst modeling to examine five predetermined success factors and their relative importance to an operation's success as perceived by the farmer. In this analysis, managing production and controlling costs have the largest preference shares of the factors but are negatively correlated with each other, suggesting a first or worst attitude towards these factors. In the second analysis, large farmer loyalty to input brands are examined using the concept of the Loyalty Ladder (Narayandas 2005). Loyalty was found to be highly variable among producers and products. These findings provide benchmarking tools for large farmers and opportunities for future farm management strategies. They provide agribusinesses with insights on the underlying decision-making process of large farmers, allowing them to tailor their products and/or services to their customers' specific needs to potentially strengthen the relationship for all parties involved.