Farmers' perception of opportunities for farm development

PhD defence

Farmers' perception of opportunities for farm development

PhD candidate ir. RG (Ron) Methorst
Promotor JSC (Han) Wiskerke
Co-promotor D (Dirk) Roep JAAM (Jos) Verstegen
Organisation Wageningen University, Wageningen School of Social Sciences (WASS), Rural Sociology

Fri 18 November 2016 16:00 to 17:30

Venue Auditorium, building number 362
Generaal Foulkesweg 1
6703 BG Wageningen


Why do family dairy farmers differ in their perception of opportunities for farm development? In the case study of dairy farming in Kampereiland, the farmers operate in a highly comparable context which allows to study differences in how they perceive their opportunities. The family dairy farmers were asked to rate a list of 15 opportunities on the perceived viability to contribute to farm income. Four clusters of opportunities were found that represent different farm development strategies: 1) maximising production; 2) optimising the use of own resources; 3) diversifying production; and 4) ending dairy farming. Personal views and preferences appeared to be the most influential driver for the perception of opportunities. Secondly, every strategy appeared to have different sets of relations with the context in which the farm operates: in the socio-cultural context, in the dairy value chain and in the use of resources for production. These sets of relations deviate on a scale ranging from more ‘close’ to more ‘stretched’ in nature creating a mixing paned of three sliders on which the family farmer positions itself. This positioning is related to the personal preference. This approach of positioning in the relations offers the possibility for a non-normative approach in the discussion about opportunities for family farm development.