European dairy farmers’ perceptions and responses towards development strategies in years of turbulent market and policy changes

Abele Kuipers, Agata Malak-Rawlikowska*, Aldona Stalgienė, Anita Ule, Marija Klopčič

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


Farmers operate in a changing market, policy and social environment so questions arise as to how they experience these changes and react in their business orientation. This topic was examined in the period 2011 to 2016 in a strongly fluctuating product market and food policy environment, e.g., abolition of milk quotas in Europe. The study was based on unique panel data for 290 dairy farms in Poland, Slovenia, Lithuania and The Netherlands, questioned up to three times in 2011, 2013 and 2016. The conceptual framework was composed of Farmer goals, Resources, Opportunities and Threats (O and T), and Future expectations (performance) as continuous variables, and countries and strategy farmer groups as categorical variables. Data were analysed applying PCA, ANOVA, cluster and regression analyses. Dairy farmers seemed not to be motivated or educated to take strategic decisions that made the best use of their resources and to take opportunities and mitigate threats to achieve their personal goals. Farmer perceptions were strongly affected by country of origin, local environment and milk price, and less by the strategy group. The market situation is one of the dominant factors affecting the mind-set of farmers in Europe. Future expectations were evaluated highest in 2013 (period with ‘high’ prices), lowest in 2016 (price crisis) and intermediate in 2011 (moderate price period). The large dependence of farmers on the price of their product could be a sensitive issue for politicians, but also food chain members and farmers’ syndicates. They may anticipate a fluctuating attitude of farmers with respect to organisational and institutional plans and implemented measures, depending on the market situation and related policy context.

Original languageEnglish
Article number293
JournalAgriculture (Switzerland)
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 29 Mar 2021


  • Abolition of the milk quota
  • Europe
  • Farmers’ perceptions
  • Farming goals
  • Market situation
  • Opportunities and threats
  • Policy changes
  • Resources
  • Strategies


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