Business Guidance

Agricultural Diversification: Don’t Put All Your Eggs in One Basket

For hundreds of years, Americans and the world have benefitted from farmers working their land. Over the same centuries, farmers have lived through many boom and bust cycles, dry and wet seasons, and fluctuations in commodity prices and input costs. They’ve had to diversify their income streams by working smarter – not harder. Through it all, the American farmer has learned the validity of the age old lesson of ‘not having all of your eggs in one basket’.

Applying this old adage to their everyday lives, farmers have diversified their income streams in a variety of ways. For example, many farmers found it difficult to survive on a small farm milking a small amount of cows. Thus, they diversified. Farmers branched out into dairy cows, tobacco crops, broilers, layers, hogs, beef cattle, fruits and vegetables, grain production, a variety of roadside stands, quilt shops, machine shops, greenhouses, and woodworking shops as a way to diversify their revenue. This diversification has helped farmers survive and even thrive in times of struggle within certain industries. At times, milk prices may be down and eggs are high or farmers may experience an off year in tobacco or grain while fruit and vegetable prices are high. In addition, some of these sideline shop businesses provided more stability as they produced a steady form of cash flow for the farmer.

American farmers are the heart and soul of our country. They work hard and smart each day, not only to feed our nation, but to feed the entire world. Through good times and bad, we count on the American farmer for our everyday sustenance. In order for them to continue to produce our food, they need to be profitable and sustainable. By not having all of their eggs in one basket, they’ve learned diversity of income provides a means to this end.

Contact us today at 717-869-6291 to learn more about how Univest can help you with your agricultural lending needs.


Univest Bank and Trust Co. is Member FDIC, Equal Opportunity and SBA Preferred Lender.

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