Document Type

Thesis - Open Access

Award Date


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Department / School



The difference between success and failure of a business can often be attributed to whether or not the customer is served in the manner he or she wants. Therefore, it is very important for farm supply and marketing firms to know what services, practices and products their customers want and to do all within reason to serve those needs. Sometimes distinctions must be made between customer wants and customer needs and sometimes it is not reasonable to try to serve every nee, but most of a customer’s needs must be met or he or she will shop elsewhere. This is especially important with the technological advancements and the shift in factor inputs from labor to capital. These changes have caused farmers to become more reliant on farm supply and marketing firms and more selective to whom they will give their trust and business. Therefore it is important to those serving the farmers to know the factors that influence a majority of farmer patrons and their preference ranking of farm services. Understanding these factors which affect farmer patronage, the agri-business industry can adjust to better serve present and future farmers of South Dakota and the nation. The main focus of the research is on the farm people of South Dakota. Special attention is given to any differences in factors influencing patronage decisions due to the age of the respondent, location of the farm within the state, and the size of the operation measured by average annual sales. Cooperatives provide an alternative to the independent or company store in the area of farm supply and grain marketing. Because of their importance, cooperatives should be given special attention. Of particular concern to the farmer patron is the handling of deferred patronage refunds. Alternatives are available and should be examined in greater detail. The two possibilities included in this research are repayment (1) to beneficiary or estate and (2) at age 65. Uncertainty of what farmer are seeking in their supply and marketing firms exists among agri-business firms. Therefore, it is important for the agri-business firm to be aware of the farm patrons’ attitudes so they can serve farmers in the way they desire.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Agricultural industries -- South Dakota

Agriculture -- Economic aspects -- South Dakota

Agriculture, Cooperative -- South Dakots



Number of Pages



South Dakota State University