The purpose of this guide is to point business researchers to some key resources when researching the crop production industry and its sectors, including vegetable and grain farming. This guide contains several of the key and highly recommended resources when analyzing the industry and researching the companies in the industry. I’ve listed the databases and resources below, with recommendations on how to find the best information in the quickest fashion.
Note: Because the topic of “crop production” is rather broad, you may wish to narrow your search terms in some cases and use terms such as “vegetable farming,” “corn farming,” “grain farming,” etc.
Corn image courtesy of Markus via Flickr.
The guide starts with resources for performing an industry analysis, but don’t miss the top picks for company analysis further down the page. For additional tips, take a look at my guides for Industry Research Basics and Company Research Basics.
Best Bets for Industry Analysis
The resources in this section are the best bets for analyzing the broad industry.
Encyclopedia of American Industries
The Agriculture section of the Encyclopedia of American Industries contains articles about almost every sector of the crop production industry. The articles cover significant history and development of the industries. For similar global coverage, check out the Crop Production Article in the Encyclopedia of Global Industries.
IbisWorld is a good place to get started for a good overview of several sectors of the industry. There you will find reports on corn, wheat, soybean, and vegetable farming, as well as crop services. IbisWorld also has, under the Business Environment section, a number of economic reports that could be very useful, such Domestic Corn Production and Price of Soybeans.
First Research also offers broad industry overviews, which compliment the reports from IbisWorld quite nicely. In First Research you can find reports on crop production, farm support services, grain and vegetable farming, and more.
Passport some excellent market research reports on retailing in specific countries.
- Use the Industries –> Industrial Browse to find industry reports for Agriculture in the U.S.A., Fertilizers and Nitrogen Compounds in the U.S.A.., and Pesticides and Other Agrochemicals in the U.S.A.
- It is also useful in finding local company profiles, which include strategy of the companies.
- Passport also addresses the broad Political, Economic, Social, and Technological trends affecting industries. This video shows you how to find information from Passport GMID for your PEST analysis.
Plunkett Research has a section for Food, where you can find Market Research and Statistics for the overall market. This would be a good resource to look at to get a general overview of the market.
S&P Net Advantage
S&P NetAdvantage is a key tool to use when researching this industry.
- It has a very good report for the “Food & Non-Alcoholic Beverages” Industry. The report includes a lengthy discussion of agribusiness, farming, regulation and changes within the industry, and more. The industry reports can be very useful in performing a PEST analysis, particularly when addressing the “economic” area. To find these reports, click on the Industry Tab in NetAvantage, then select the industry in the drop-down menu.
This LexisNexis link will take you to a custom search that I built that will just search the publications pertaining to the crop production industry. This would be a great way to get news and other reports from trade publications and analyst reports. The search also includes the BMI Agribusiness Forecast Report, which gives outlook and forecasts for grains and rice in emerging markets. The image to the right shows you how to use this search. If you are just searching for general information about a particular area, enter GEOGRAPHIC(Europe) in the search box (you’ll want to change “Europe” to the region/country of your choice.
The 10-k (annual SEC filings) for individual companies contain financial information for companies, as well as textual descriptions of business strategies, risk factors, competition, and more. Look in Part 1, Item 1 and Item 1A for this information in a company’s 10-K report. You will notice that the companies use some of the similar language found in reports like IBISWorld and others.
Statista is great resource to find some extremely useful statistics for you industry. Simply search for “crop production,” “corn,” “grain,” etc., or by company or brand to find stats for your project.
Business Source Complete
Business Source Complete has a lot of useful information that can take your research to the next level. I’ve listed here last not because it is the least important, but because I would us articles and reports from Business Source Complete to fill in the gaps of your research. You will find Industry Profiles (search for vegetables), and Trade Publications that can enhance the broad coverage of other industry reports. Tip: Search “Agricultural Products Industry Profile” to get some good U.S. and international reports.
Top Picks for Company Analysis
The following resources are particularly useful when analyzing specific companies in the industry.
OneSource is another fantastic resource for both company and industry information.
- It has company news, financials, SWOT analyses, ratio comparisons, peer analysis, stock reports and more.
Hoover’s Online has great company and industry information.
- Use the Company tab to search for a particular company to find company financials, competitors, company news, and more.
- Use the Industry Tab to search for your industry terms to find some excellent industry reports. The industry data comes from First Research, which is the same information found via the First Research interface.
S&P Net Advantage
S&P NetAdvantage is a also a great tool for researching companies.
- It has stock reports and company financials for major companies.
- The Compustat Excel Analytics are great when analyzing companies. This video shows you how to find them.
Mergent Online is a great tool for looking at both company and industry information.
- Mergent is an excellent tool for in-depth company financial information
- Mergent has company financial ratios
- It has Equity Reports for major companies. Take a look at this video for how to find Equity Reports in Mergent Online.
- It is a great way to compare companies in the same industry. This video shows you how to compare companies in the same home improvement retail industry with Mergent Online.
Factiva is a great resource for looking for news about companies in the industry. You will also find company profiles, financials, ratios, and more in the “Companies & Markets” section of Factiva. This video shows you how to use Factiva effectively when analyzing your company.
In LexisNexis, use the “Get Company Information” search box to search for company information. In addition to company financial information, you will find company news, company organization and subsidiary information, and company legal/lawsuit information.