Searching for the entrepreneurs among new entrants in European Agriculture : the role of human and social capital

Pindado, Emilio; Sánchez, Mercedes; Verstegen, Jos A.A.M.; Lans, Thomas


It is stated that farmers need to become more entrepreneurial to compete in modern agriculture. Much of the literature on agricultural entrepreneurship, however, has been focused on established farmers and little is known about what determines this behaviour among new entrants. New entrants may provide a robust answer to the call for entrepreneurialism in agriculture. This paper examines the drivers for entrepreneurialism among 1,877 new entrants in Europe, in particular the effect of human and social capital on new business opportunity identification once they have started their farming activity. The results suggest that new part-time farmers who treat farming as their second job are less likely to identify new business opportunities. By contrast, new farmers with high levels of confidence in their entrepreneurial competencies tend to identify more new business opportunities. Farmers’ weak social ties and a positive attitude in their context towards entrepreneurship increases opportunity identification. The findings contribute to understanding the specifics of new entrants in agriculture and highlight the importance of specific entrepreneurial knowledge and professional networks for this group. This has consequences for tailoring education and training programs as well as for policy measures for this specific group.