sealPurdue News

June 1998

Promote your farm with a good resume

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. -- Well-maintained farmsteads speak for themselves, but farmers are finding that's not enough when they're trying to impress a potential landlord who lives miles away. Farmers in that position probably need to write resumes, says Purdue University agricultural economist Craig Dobbins.

"Farmers have always promoted themselves, but they did it by making the fields look good and mowing the roadsides," Dobbins says. "As agriculture has become more industrialized, and distances between farmers and landlords have gotten bigger, there's more need for them to promote themselves on paper."

More than half of Indiana cropland is farmed by renters, and the percentage is rising. That's true across the Midwest. To rent more ground, farmers often must impress either absentee landlords who live hundreds of miles away or the farm management agencies who represent them.

Dobbins suggests that farmers start now to prepare resumes for next fall, because it could take a while to do the job right.

"Writing a resume may sound easy, but it's not when you have to get information from your head onto a piece of paper," Dobbins says. "Expect to go through several drafts."

Your resume might include:

  • A mission statement -- Tell where you are headed and what makes your farm operation unique.
  • Objectives -- List your environmental and economic goals.
  • Experience -- Tell how long you've farmed, where and how many acres. Describe off-farm experience. List any work with special technologies or specialty crops.
  • Market strategy -- If you work with a market adviser, say so. Describe your strategy and give average prices you've received, if they're above the average for your area.
  • Equipment -- List major pieces of equipment you own.
  • General biographical information -- Tell where you grew up. Give your educational background. Describe your family. List membership in community organizations.
  • References--You don't need to give names, but offer to supply names on request.

When you've finished writing, have other people look it over.

"Local ag lenders, Extension educators, machinery dealers or other people who run ag-related businesses know what to look for and can give you good feedback," Dobbins says.

And when you've got that final, polished piece, don't overlook other opportunities to trot it out.

"These documents can go in with loan packages or to prospective business partners to show that you approach your work in a professional manner," Dobbins says. "After you leave the room, they still have something that helps them remember you."

CONTACT: Dobbins, (765) 494-9041; e-mail,

Compiled by Chris Sigurdson, (765) 494-8415; e-mail,
Purdue News Service: (765) 494-2096; e-mail,

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