Farmers perception on options for farm development in a situation of limiting nearby surroundings

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingAbstract


Farmers are challenged to integrate changes in the biophysical and societal environment in the farm strategy. Scale enlargement is a dominant strategy for dairy farmers in The Netherlands and is a possible threat to vulnerable assets of regions. Regional development programmes aim to support farm development in such a way that vulnerable assets are protected. Stakeholders in regional development may differ in their perceptions on viability of options for farm development. New services and functions in rural areas are often seen as desirable options for farm development. The farmer as entrepreneur chooses a strategy based on the options perceived by him as viable for future farm income: the perceived Room for Manoeuvre (pRfM). For effective regional development programmes it is important to understand differences between (groups of) farmers in the pRfM. In a case study of 79 dairy farmers 4 clusters were found: 1) based on output (29 farmers), 2) based on the use of onfarm resources (21 farmers), 3) based on on-farm non-dairy activities (21 farmers), 4) based on off-farm income and ending dairy production (8 farmers). The clusters have a different focus on their location in relation to farm strategy. The clusters were related to current, planned and preferred activities using cross tabulation. ‘Full-speed’ dairy farming is preferred by 35 farmers of which 17 are outside cluster 1. Intensification of dairy farming is planned on 14 farms of which 9 are in cluster 2 and 3. Many farmers have a strong preference for more intensive dairy production, even when options for diversified farming are perceived as viable. Results may be influenced by the fact that all farmers in this case study were tenant farmers. This study shows that the construct perceived Room for Manoeuvre allows to distinguish between groups of farmers on their farm strategy in relation to farm location. In regional development this knowledge can be used in the design of support programmes for farm development, increasing the likelihood of a successful programme.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationBook of abstracts of the IFSA 2014: Farming Systems Facing Global Challenges: Capacities and Strategies
Place of PublicationBerlin
PublisherInternational Farming Systems Association
Publication statusPublished - 2014
Event11th European IFSA Symposium, Berlin, Germany -
Duration: 1 Apr 20144 Apr 2014


Conference11th European IFSA Symposium, Berlin, Germany


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