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According to the 1997 Census of Agriculture, farm operators with farm incomes of less than $10,000 make up the only farmer group that has grown steadily for several years and consistently spends more on farm production supplies than is earned from farming. Collectively the amount spent was $5.3 billion in 1997, up 9.3% from 1992.

To sustain this spending on farm supplies, 64% of these farmers are working 200 days or more off the farm, which means a steady cash flow from off -the- farm sources.

Many farm for reasons beyond generating income and they are willing to spend accordingly. The purchasing power of part time farmers makes this group an appropriate target for agri-marketers.

Doane Marketing Research just completed the shared cost study, Part Time, Pleasure Farmers And Their Farm Input Purchasing. The report includes the results of a nationwide survey of over 1050 farmers who are employed 200 days or more off the farm, had an annual income of at least $25,000 and a farm income of $1,000 or more.

Largest estimated 1999 expenditures are for animal feed, farm pesticides, fertilizer, and farm equipment parts.

Over ninety percent of these part-time farmers own or lease one or more tractors. Furthermore, about one-third own one or more ATV's and most use these in their farming operation.

Purchase and leasing intentions were identified for a wide range of items. For example, during the next three years 20% intend to buy or lease a tractor, 17% intend to buy or lease a front end loader and 15% intend to buy or lease an ATV.

Magazines, the Internet, catalogs, and farm supply stores often serve as principal sources of information with nearly 26% using the Internet recently.

The full report has over 500,000 pages of text, graphics, and tabular analysis summarizing the findings by geographical region and key market segments. AM


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