Out of the attempts made at modernising the Hungarian society and economy in the era of socialism it was only the agricultural transition and development that has brought a long, internationally recognised success. The Hungarian agricultural model has become a point of reference for numerous developing countries, and was widely recognised even in the developed world. The aim of this article is to analyse the driving forces and socio-economic environment in the formation of the Hungarian agricultural model as well as its results, object lessons and experiences. The authors emphasise the specific aspects of the Hungarian agricultural development, contrasting it with that of Western- and Eastern-Europe. It was underlined, that the most important drivers of modernisation were (1) the courage of searching new answers to the problems of agricultural modernisation, abandoning the Soviet models and the methods of economic direction and policy; (2) a system-based, integrated approach of the agricultural policy; (3) using numerous elements of the market economies as well as the decentralisation of decision-making; (4) applying material incentives in a wide range; (5) the extensive application of the results of science and development.